Tea For Two has every chance of winning the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival according to Lizzie Kelly, before being aimed at the Randox Health Grand National just a few weeks later. Tea For Two gave Kelly her first taste of top-level success when romping home to victory in the 2015 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase, however he has since slipped down the ratings to 149 with no wins since beating Cue Card by a neck in the Betway Bowl in 2017.
The ten-year-old unseated and finished in seventh position in the 2017 and 2018 Gold Cups and is currently 12/1 for his Cheltenham appearance despite never having contested that type of race before.
Kelly has ridden Tea For Two in each of his nine career wins and she had this to say regarding his appearance in the Cross Country Chase:
“We’re thinking about the Cross Country. We’ll need to see how he schools but that’s where we should head with him. He’s a Grade 1 horse stepping down to a handicap so he should have every chance in that level.
“He’s always been a big, athletic horse and so jumping up and down the banks should suit him.”
The Jane Williams-trained horse will look to follow in the footsteps of Gordon Elliott’s Tiger Roll which landed the ace prior to his Grand National success last year, however some bookmakers have Tea For Two priced ante-post as high as 80/1 to make Kelly the first female jockey ever to win the famous steeplechase.
“Tea For Two’s main target is the Grand National and if he gets there in one piece it’ll be fantastic,” she said. “The Cross Country is a race that’s similar in distance and the timing [in the calendar] works well, so it’s a logical place to go. He’s a brave horse so one would think he would’t be fazed.”
She continued: “It would be massive for me to ride in the Grand National and there’s no horse I’d want to be on more than him. I know him inside out – he jumps well and I’m looking forward to it. Who doesn’t want to ride in the National!
“We think he’d have a good chance – we’ll take it steady and see how the race goes. Anyone who goes into a National thinking they’ll win it would be mad. Realistically, I imagine we’ll try to get into a rhythm and just enjoy ourselves.
“If I’m still standing two out then it would be great, he’s an old horse who has done a lot for me in my career. If we finish it in one piece, I’ll be happy – and even to be placed would be an amazing scenario. It’s exciting for sure!”