Threeunderthrufive tanking towards Cheltenham for Paul Nicholls

The McNeill's Threeunderthrufive is heading towards Cheltenham but may take on Warwick or Lingfield carrying the red, white and blue silks in the build-up.

Threeunderthrufive, Paul Nicholls' promising novice chaser, looks set to prepare for the Cheltenham Festival with a run at either Warwick or Lingfield.

The winner of eight races to date, from 11 runs, the seven-year-old has taken to chasing like a duck to water, being victorious in three of his first four.

The most recent triumph was a Doncaster Grade 2, and the McNeill family will decide whether he runs in the Brown Advisory Novices' Chase in March or the longer National Hunt Chase after his next run.

"I don't think he's going to go to the Reynoldstown at Ascot, it's probably a little too close to the Festival," said Max McNeill's racing manager Iain Turner.

"I'd have thought he'll either go to Warwick for the Grade Two Paul won with Next Destination (Hampton Novices' Chase, January 15) or the new Winter Million race at Lingfield (January 21).

"He'll go for one of those and then he'll have a break before the Festival.

"We nearly put him in the Gold Cup, and I notice Ahoy Senor has been. If you run in the Brown Advisory you're probably taking on the likes of Galopin Des Champs and Bravemansgame and not many in the Gold Cup enhanced their chances at Christmas.

"At the end of the day, though, you can only run in the novice races once. My gut feeling is that he'll go to Warwick as who knows what the ground will be like at Lingfield."

The familiar red, blue and white McNeill silks were carried near to victory the National Hunt Chase last season via the Gordon Elliott-trained Escaria Ten, who has not been seen since pulling up in the Irish National.

Escaria Ten's Cheltenham form up against Galvin and Next Destination brings hope he may be well handicapped with a Grand National tilt on the cards.

"Escaria Ten isn't in the Gold Cup so I suppose people can work out what the plan is given he's rated 151 and he's not in at Cheltenham," said Turner.

"When you see what Galvin is rated now (167), we told Gordon in the summer to train him for the National and then you see how the form of the National Hunt Chase has worked out.

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