Bristol De Mai set to take Tea For Two in Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase
David Metcalf | February 5, 2016
Bristol De Mai can enhance his Cheltenham Festival claims by getting the better of Tea For Two to land a fascinating renewal of the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown (14.25).
The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained gelding was a classy Grade 1 winning hurdler who has looked as least as good as a chaser in winning three of his five starts this season.
After open his account over the larger obstacles with a facile 19 length success at Warwick, Bristol De Mai lost little in defeat when a 10 length runner-up to Ar Mad in a Grade 1 contest over 2m at this venue.
This five-year-old then had little difficulty landing a minor contest at Leicester and was most impressive last time out when making all to land a Grade 2 contest over 2m 4f at Haydock by 32 lengths.
Judged by the manner of his success in the later, Bristol De Mai is a chaser an an upward curve who needs keeping firmly onside.
Bristol De Mai a bold jumper with big engine
Grey gelding Bristol De Mai is currently 10/1 joint second-favourite with Coral for the JLT Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on Thursday, March 17th.
Bristol De Mai looks the ideal sort for that contest, and can make his chasing experience tell to take the scalp of Tea For Two.
Tea For Two was also a very useful hurdler, and is unbeaten in two starts over fences.
The seven-year-old was impressive in the last of those when beating Southfield Royale by four lengths in the Grade 1 Feltham over 3m at Kempton, but I am not convinced that the drop back down to 2m 4f will suit.
Tea For Two also has to give 3lb to Bristol De Mai, and that is a tough ask given that they are very closely matched on official ratings.
Peace And Co can get back on track
In the 2m Contenders Hurdle (13.15), Peace And Co can bounce back from a dismal effort on his seasonal reappearance to land the spoils and put himself back in the Champion Hurdle picture.
The gelding joined trainer Nicky Henderson after winning on his French debut at Clairefontaine, and looked a superstar in the making last season when winning all three starts.
In the the last of those successes, Peace And Co won the Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival by a neck from stablemate Top Notch.
After travelling ominously well throughout, Peace And Co made smooth headway two from home to challenge at the last before asserting on the run-in to score in cosy fashion.
It was an effort which suggested the five-year-old would be a big player in this year’s Champion Hurdle, but Peace And Co flopped badly when returning to action at Cheltenham in Decembre as he finished last of six to Old Guard.
Too bad to be true
The son of Falco ended up being beaten 21 lengths after racing far too freely in the early stages, and it was a run which was simply too bad to be true.
Peace And Co is clearly far better than that, and on the pick of his form is head and shoulders better than his three rivals in this Listed contest.
This looks a lovely opportunity for him to gain a confidence boosting success, and it will be disappointing if Peace And Co doesn’t win with ease.
I fully expect him to do just that and confirm himself as a lively outsider for next month’s Champion Hurdle for which Peace And Co is currently 12/1.
Coral’s top tips: Bristol De Mai looks decent value to land a cracking renewal of the Scilly Isles Chase. Peace And Co can prove his comeback run to be all wrong and put himself back in the Champion Hurdle picture.