Tea For Two
6th April 2017 – April – I was unsure either way about the limits of his stamina before this race. I would suggest that he definitely has the stamina for three miles off a fast pace on decent ground after this winning effort. He drew miles clear of the third horse home and certainly lasted home in this grade one chase. I thought there were enough question marks against most of this field prior to the race; consequently, I would prefer to remain open minded as to how much he has actually achieved today – at least in context of a potential King George challenge. The Kempton track seems to suit him well; however, on what we know at this moment in time he would have an awful lot to find on Might Bite. Tea For two only narrowly got beaten by Cue Card in the King George and maybe did not have to do a lot more than that here. His final circuit time was very similar compared with Double W’s in the two mile Red Rum Chase which is often a big plus point in my experience.
6th April 2017 – April – Maybe he ran to his King George form and somewhere not too far ahead of his Charlie Hall form today. All three races were run on flat tracks over about three miles. This defeat adds further substance to the possibility that he simply is much better on soft ground. His jockey suggested that it was pilot error for going too soon at Wetherby. He did exactly the same here and also did something similar at Kempton. I have some sympathy with PB as I doubt the horse is quick enough to hold up when competing on a quicker surface. The upside to this is that the TV pundits were immediately talking about him being on a downward curve. Whilst there may be some truth in this; I would also be quite hopeful that he will still be more than capable of running close to his best on a soft surface – perhaps in the Betfair Chase?
6th April 2017 – April – He appeared to be the obvious danger to the favourite on the turn for home; however, his promising run petered out quicker than it had emerged. He was left well behind by the first two horses and may have run close to his level here. I think he put in two or three much improved performances last season after his epiglottis operation. However, his form appears to have levelled off this season and this 15 length defeat in a grade one chase might not be too far wide of the mark he is now able to operate from.
6th April 2017 – April – His jumping was not good enough in the first part of the race and he is completely flattered by his fourth place finish.
Bristol De Mai
6th April 2017 – April – He was continually outjumped by the veteran Conti in the first half of the race. His performance was close enough to the one he put in at Newbury to suggest that soft ground is the main key to him rather than the different ways he has been ridden recently. I am far from convinced about his stamina for this distance; at the same time he was beaten too far out for stamina to be of any issue today. I will mark him up on a flat track on soft ground over a distance up to, but preferably slightly short of, three miles. He may get three miles again when competing against relatively plodding staying handicappers; however, he has yet to prove his stamina for three miles against these classier types.
6th April 2017 – April – He dropped away a long way out and was subsequently retired after the race.
Empire Of Dirt
6th April 2017 – April – He was being niggled along after each of the first few fences. His jockey took him to the outside and he was then on the bridle and everything appeared to be going well for him. He soon came off the bridle and dropped away before being pulled up before the third last fence. He finished lame and this might well be the only significant reason for this performance. At the same time it is difficult to consider the way he has travelled in the early stages of each of his latest two chases and not be a little concerned about what is going on in between his ears.