Tea For Two to stay in novice company rather then go for World Hurdle

Tea For Two produced a visually exceptional display at Kempton on Saturday when he turned the William Hill Lanzarote Hurdle into nothing more than a routine canter.

Tea For Two to stay in novice company rather then go for World Hurdle

Always handy under in-form Lizzie Kelly and soon disputing matters with Kilcooley, the unexposed Tea For Two travelled particularly well 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.

Kelly said: “We will be building up his strength before he goes chasing.

“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.”

Tea For Two was given quotes for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, but connections instead stated their desire to keep him in novice company.

The reopening of the Listed williamhill.com Chase worked a treat for trainer Alan King and stable jockey Wayne Hutchinson.

Balder Succes took command five fences from home and was in complete control from there on in, coasting home by 10 lengths .

“He only cantered on Tuesday and then breezed on Thursday so he wouldn’t have been spot on, but this is definitely his trip (two and a half miles) and if he has another run before Cheltenham, it will be Ascot in February and then the Ryanair or straight to the Ryanair,” said trainer Alan King.

“He wasn’t ready for Cheltenham last year and the owners didn’t really want to go, but it worked out well in the end when he won at Aintree and they want to go to Cheltenham this time.”

Hawkes Point gave holidaying trainer Paul Nicholls a third triumph in the Betfred Classic Chase with a gutsy staying performance at Warwick. Successful with Eurotrek in 2006 and Ladalko a year later, it was the turn of last season’s Welsh National runner-up to win the marathon handicap as the Ditcheat handler enjoyed his annual break in Barbados.

Winning jockey Sam Twiston-Davies said: “The blinkers really helped. A standing start is never ideal and I had to ask him a lot of big questions a long way out, but he kept on answering all the way up the straight.

“He’s been second in a Welsh National and fought well that day. He’s tough and if anything was going to get to him it would be slowly and I would have every chance to pick him up.

“It was a great training performance after the Welsh National which was his main aim and a change of plan to come here.”

Trainer Dan Skelton ruled out Cheltenham and is looking forward to sending Three Musketeers (6-1) over fences next term after the lightly-raced five-year-old impressed in winning the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle.

Douvan was all the rage for Cheltenham after an emphatic success in the Grade Two sportinglife.com Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown.

Already at the head of the betting for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in March after impressing on his Irish debut at Gowran, the Willie Mullins-trained five-year-old passed his next test with flying colours. Mullins said: “I don’t think ground or trip make any difference to him, and I’d imagine he’ll go straight to Cheltenham now.”

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Join us for a special evening of Cheltenham chat on Friday March 12 at 6.30pm with racing legend and Irish Examiner columnist Ruby Walsh, Irish Examiner racing correspondent Tommy Lyons, and former champion jockey and tv presenter Mick Fitzgerald, author of Better than Sex.

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