Rebecca Curtis believes a combination of a big weight, unsuitable ground and track conditions caused Teaforthree to underperform in the Betfred Grand National Trial at Haydock.
The Welsh National runner-up was expected to enhance his claims for the John Smith's Grand National at Aintree but finished a well-beaten 10th of the 11 finishers on Saturday.
However, Curtis retains faith in the winner of the four-mile National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham last March and will send him straight to Aintree without another run.
"He didn't enjoy the sticky ground. It was tough for him to get his feet out of it and I wouldn't call Haydock a real jumping track," said the Pembrokeshire trainer.
"He didn't have an overly hard race.
"I think he'll go straight to the National, we'll have a job getting another race into him before then and you don't know how much the Welsh National took out of him.
"He'll go on soft ground but he hated that drying out, sticky ground. Carrying top weight on that ground just told on him in the end."
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