Lizzie brews up storm as Tea For Two outguns Cue Card
Lizzie Kelly produced a superb performance on Tea For Two in the first-day Aintree feature, the 10/1 chance holding on gamely to beat the favourite Cue Card in a memorable duel before a raucous crowd.
Kelly rode an admirably patient race in early stages of the Grade One Betway Bowl Chase dominated by Bristol De Mai and Silviniaco Conti. The latter and Smad Place were seen off by the Colin Tizzard-trained favourite, which took the lead over the fourth-last.
However, the strong-travelling Tea For Two, trained by Nick Williams, would not go away and was in apparent command between the last two, only for the rallying Cue Card to close to a diminishing neck at the wire.
"That was fantastic. He was a dream ride. This means more than winning the Grade One at Kempton on him, I didn't really appreciate that at the time but this is special," Kelly said.
Barry Geraghty, who only returned to action from an injury that forced him out of Cheltenham last weekend, rode a short-priced Grade One double for JP McManus on Defi Du Seuil (4/11f) and 1/2f Buveur D'Air.
Buveur D'Air, like in the Champion Hurdle, came home in front of stablemate My Tent Or Yours, the extra distance looking no issue to him whatever in a five-length win. "Nicky (Henderson) has done a great job to get him back so soon," Geraghty said.
"He's a very good horse. He's sharp, he's buzzy; he's a proper two-miler really. It's great for Nicky having the first two."
Henderson added: "It seems so unfair doing this to 'My Tent' as if any horse deserved to win here or at Cheltenham it's him but all we are doing is beating him ourselves which seems so ridiculous! Where else can you go, you have to come here and the Cheltenham form has been confirmed."
Defi Du Seuil was more workmanlike in the juveniles' contest, after which trainer Philip Hobbs said: "We need to talk to JP and everybody else to see what the plan will be for next season, but we've plenty of time."
Irish action today is at Wexford over jumps and on the all-weather at Dundalk. The John Feane-trained Set To Fire, which completely blew the start here last time, has the assistance of Gary Carroll and gets the nap vote at Dundalk, while Hedgeinator is interesting at the southeast venue.