Hello George hot stuff in Lanzarote Hurdle
The big betting race of the day is the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton (2.40) and the lightly-raced Hello George has plenty going for him in the 2m 5f contest.
The Philip Hobbs trained gelding shaped with plenty of promise when placed in his first two bumper runs before getting off the mark when showing a game attitude to beat Flying Eagle by 1/2 a length.
The five-year-old the made a smooth transition to hurdles when readily landing a 17-runner contest at Exeter on seasonal reappearance, staying on strongly to score by 4 1/2 lengths despite racing keenly.
Hello George than ran well to finish third on his next two outings, including when beaten just 5 3/4 lengths by the very useful Jollyallan who has gone on to score twice since and is now official rated 149.
That is very strong form and makes Hello George’s current mark fo 129 looks very exploitable following a cracking handicap debut off it when sixth of 19 to Bayan in the utra-competitive Ladbroke Hurdle over 2m at Ascot.
Hello George showed plenty of pace to track the leaders until making a bad mistake four from home and then got outpaced at the second last before keeping on really well to be be beaten just 8 1/2 lengths.
The way in which Hello George stuck to the task suggested that the step up in trip to this afternoon’s 2m 5f would suit, and off bottom weight of 10st a massive run looks on the cards.
Trainer Nick Williams has won two of the last four runnings of the contest, and his Tea For Two looks the obvious danger.
The gelding was a smart bumper performer who overcame inexperience to make a winning hurdling debut over course and distance back in October.
The six-year-old then seemed unsuited by a small field when finishing just third of four at Newbury, but quickly regained the winning thread last time out at Towcester when scoring readily by four lengths.
An opening mark of 134 could well be on the lenient side, and Tea For Two also has the services of Lizzie Kelly in the saddle whose claim takes another invaluable 7lb off his back.