TEA FOR TWO turned the William Hill Lanzarote Hurdle into a procession at Kempton to give rider Lizzie Kelly a landmark success.
Always handy and soon disputing matters with Kilcooley, the unexposed Tea For Two travelled really powerfully for his in-form pilot and jumped to the lead four from home.
One or two loomed as though they might get within striking distance, but those hopes were swiftly extinguished as the Nick Williams-trained winner went further and further clear.
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Taking the last in his stride, the 9-2 joint-favourite powered home for a 16-length success from Little Boy Boru.
Winning owner Jane Williams, mother of the winning jockey and assistant to her husband, said: “We’ve got no plans for this horse, this was the plan and it’s back to the drawing board. He would have wanted softer ground than that. I’m not surprised he won, but I didn’t expect him to beat a serious field in that manner.
“I’ve been doing this for my daughter and trying to find handicaps for him so that she can claim. Handicaps might be out now – personally I would prefer to duck out of Cheltenham. I don’t think the Graded races would suit him that much, and the World Hurdle might be better.”
Kelly said: “My brother quietly mentioned Cheltenham to me as I was walking into the weighing room but we will keep our feet on the ground. If he does go, then absolutely brilliant, but we will just have to see what happens.”
Hawkes Point proved another big Saturday winner for Paul Nicholls and Sam Twiston-Davies in the Betfred Classic Chase at Warwick.
Shotgun Paddy made a valiant bid in the marathon contest under his big weight, racing prominently from flag-fall and assuming the lead to take the field out for the second circuit, but a bad mistake three out did nothing to help his chance.
Hawkes Point, who also disappointed at Chepstow but had blinkers on for the first time, moved well in Shotgun Paddy’s slipstream and took advantage of that error to lead with two to jump.
In receipt of plenty of weight, he made that count as Twiston-Davies booted the 15-2 winner to a two-and-a-quarter-length victory from the staying-on Theatrical Star, with the gallant Shotgun Paddy another two lengths back in third.
Officials at Kelso planned to carry out a precautionary check of the Borders track at 6.45am this morning ahead of this afternoon’s racing.
The threat of snow was the concern, although clerk of the course Hazel Peplinski was cautiously upbeat.
She tweeted: “Whilst 90% confident of no problems @KelsoRacecourse I’ve called a 6.45am precautionary inspection due to slight risk of overnight snow.”
Evan Williams was hoping the meeting beat the weather as Cappa Bleu is due to make his comeback after 14 months on the sidelines.
The Llancarfan trainer gave the 2013 Grand National runner-up, now 13 years old, entries in two races at the Borders track and has opted for the Eildon Hill Stables Open Hunters’ Chase.
“We want to see where we are and how the horse is. It’s a long way to go, but it’s to know what we are going to do with him in the future,” said Williams. “A hunter chase is going back to his roots and hopefully he’ll have an enjoyable day and we’ll see how he comes out of the race after his problems. We wouldn’t want to get in front of ourselves.”
Cappa Bleu is top-rated of the nine runners in this contest
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