ANY golfer will understand the significance of the term ‘three under through five’. In other words, you would be playing very well indeed.

Well, Threeunderthrufive is the name of the McNeill Family’s seven-year-old Shantou (Alleged) gelding with Paul Nicholls, and last weekend he won for the ninth time in just 12 outings, and he is showing well above average ability now that he has been sent chasing. He was a smart bumper and hurdle horse, but his forte would appear to be over the larger obstacles.

Bred by James Dunne, Threeunderthrufive was sold through Larch Grove Stud for €120,000 at the 2018 Derby Sale to bloodstock agent Tom Malone. It is incredible to think that, in spite of his great race record to date which includes a listed hurdle win and two victories in Grade 2 chases, he has only just earned more than his purchase price thanks to his win on Saturday in the Grade 2 Hampton Novices’ Chase at Warwick.

James Dunne has enjoyed enormous success with this family since he acquired Threeunderthrufive’s dam Didinas, an unraced daughter of Kaldou Star (Kaldoun). The first winner he bred from her was Bordini (Martaline), and that French-foaled gelding looked a superstar in the making for Willie Mullins when he won his second bumper, the Listed Future Champions INH Flat Race at Navan. He had been placed on his only point-to-point outing.

Bordini pulled up in the Grade 1 Weatherbys Champion Bumper at Cheltenham, with Patrick Mullins in the saddle, and was well-beaten in the Grade 1 equivalent at the Punchestown Festival, the last time we saw him. He was followed a year later by the point-to-point winner, and now Dunne-owned broodmare, Sister Saragh (Astarabad).


The Henry de Bromhead-trained Benruben (Beneficial) is another son of Didinas and he failed to sell at the Derby Sale. However, he went on to win a bumper and a number of chases, including the Grade 3 Kilbegnet Novice Chase at Roscommon.

Silk And Sand (Beat Hollow) won a bumper in the colours of Margaret Dunne for Joseph O’Brien, and Didinas’ next offspring, her third blacktype winner, is Threeunderthrufive.

Each of the first three dams in this family has now produced at least one blacktype winner. Didinas is a half-sister to Dindounas (Astarabad), a Grade 3 Auteuil hurdle winner who has become an even better broodmare.

Dindounas has three blacktype-winning offspring, and best of these are the dual Grade 1 winning hurdler Hippomene (Dream Well) and the Grade 2 Prix Congress Chase winner Sansouva (Muhtathir).

This is a family that we could be hearing a lot more about given the magnificence of Haut En Couleurs (Saint Des Saints) at Leopardstown over Christmas. Placed third in Grade 1 hurdles races at Cheltenham (Triumph Hurdle) and Punchestown last year, he won on his chasing debut in such a manner that he is surely an odds-on Grade 1 winner in waiting.