Kauto Star Novices' Chase
|Grade 1, Kempton Park 14:00
3m, Class 1
|Saturday 26th December 2015|
1 Tea For Two 9/4
2 Southfield Royale 11/2
3 Native River 6/4F
7 ran Distances: 4l, 3¾l, 10l
TIME 6m 10.00s
Lizzie Kelly becomes the first woman to win a Grade One Chase in Britain on Tea For Two in the Kauto Star at Kempton
No other lady had ridden a Grade One winner of a chase in Britain, but backers of the 9-4 chance never really had an anxious moment.
Kelly kept her mount, trained by stepfather Nick Williams, wide throughout, and bar being interfered with a couple of times when rivals were jumping out to their left, she stayed on strongly to defeat Southfield Royale.
Despite racing keenly throughout the first mile of the race, Tea For Two was able to quicken up when Noel Fehily tried to steal a march turning into the straight.
For a few strides Kelly shook her mount up, but he responded impressively and ended up winning by four lengths, in a race formerly known as the Feltham Novices' Chase.
Kelly had nearly landed a Grade One in France when Aubusson was narrowly beaten by Thousand Stars and could have been forgiven for thinking her chance had gone. On this display, however, there will be plenty more big days for Tea For Two and his proud jockey.
Kelly said: "It's awesome, I'm absolutely delighted and to do it on this horse is just fantastic. He's always been something we were really proud of and today he has shown everyone what he's worth.
"At two out I thought 'we're going to win the Feltham!'. It's some feeling and he's got some turn of foot in that last half a mile - he's awesome. I was worried he didn't switch off as well as I thought he would, but his jumping got me out of a few problems early on."
Kelly's mother and assistant trainer Jane Williams said: "I haven't actually watched the race as I always go down to the start and as she lost her cap I wasn't even sure it was her!
"I'm thrilled for her. It's important for girls to make it in racing and we set out to try to prove girls can win Grade Ones. We went to France with Aubusson and we were just pipped at the post.
"We thought this lad had the best chance of doing it at Kempton. The trip was a bit of a concern, but if you don't try, you don't know.
"Neil King has been brilliant for her, she works for him full time so she's gone off and done her own thing, but in the background we try to help."
Williams went on: "Today was always the target and you would have to say that right-handed flat tracks will be where we are going."
Colin Tizzard said of the beaten favourite Native River, who finished third: "I felt he was out of his comfort zone, he didn't jump very well because they went flat out the whole way and he did well to finish third.
"He's never one to travel in his races and he's not the quickest on the gallops and when you get into these top races, it maybe just found him out."
Kauto Star Novices' Chase
(Formerly The Feltham Novices' Chase) (Grade 1)
£70,000 added, 4yo plus, 3m, Class 1,
Going: Good to Soft, Soft in Places
|Pos||Dist||Horse SP||Jockey Weight||Trainer||Age|
|1st||Tea For Two 9/4||Lizzie Kelly
|2nd||4||Southfield Royale 11/2||N D Fehily
|N P Mulholland||5|
|3rd||3¾||Native River (IRE) 6/4f||Brendan Powell
|C L Tizzard||5|
|4th||10||L'Unique (FR) 25/1||Wayne Hutchinson
|5th||8||Net D'Ecosse (FR) 16/1||B J Cooper
|W P Mullins||5|
|6th||29||Bally Beaufort (IRE) 10/1||Ryan Hatch
|N A Twiston-Davies||7|
|F||As De Mee (FR) 10/1||Sam Twiston-Davies
|P F Nicholls||5|