Tag Archive for: Kingwell Hurdle

I Like To Move it claims Kingwell crown

Nigel Twiston-Davies’ I Like To Move It was a facile victor of the Wincanton Jennings Bet Kingwell Hurdle.

The six-year-old, who was last seen finishing sixth in the Grade Two Relkeel Hurdle, was one of a small field of four runners and sent off a 100-30 chance.

Partnered by the trainer’s son Sam, under whom the gelding won the Greatwood in November, I Like To Move it was ridden patiently throughout the one-mile-seven-furlong trip.

Turning for home he began to pull away, jumping the last in the lead and then accelerating away from Paul Nicholls’ Knappers Hill to score by an easy 17 lengths in the Grade Two.

Sam Twiston-Davies said: “It was an impressive performance.

“Dad and I were speaking on the way down. If you were to make a race for him, it would be the International Hurdle over a stiff two miles at Cheltenham but we have come today to one of the easiest two-mile tracks on good ground and he has looked as fast as ever. He’s an incredibly pacey horse at home and he showed that today.

“The two options at Cheltenham are the County Hurdle and the Champion Hurdle. God knows what he will be rated after today, so I think it’s only fair he goes and has a go at the Champion Hurdle.

“Obviously Constitution Hill is an aeroplane, but there is massive money on offer and he deserves to be there. To go and win is going to be incredibly tough, but it’s horseracing and you never know. He is still a young horse and we are lucky to have him.”

The winning handler felt dropping back in distance had proved crucial.

He said: “That was good, wasn’t it! Two and a half miles at Cheltenham last time was no good for him but brought back to two miles, we were certainly hopeful today.

“I know we can’t get anywhere near Constitution Hill, but we will give him something to think about (in the Champion Hurdle) and where else can we go after a performance like that?

“We were totally knackered by the International Hurdle being off, which he would have won with his head in his chest as you have seen today. But he is back again and Cheltenham here we come!

“He is right up there with the best hurdlers I have trained like The New One and Khyber Kim, who was second in the Champion Hurdle.”

Nicholls anticipating Knappers Hill redemption at Wincanton

Paul Nicholls expects Knappers Hill is to thrive dropped back in trip for the Jennings Bet Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton.

The seven-year-old is unbeaten in two starts at the track, taking a novice hurdle in 2021 and then landing the Grade Two Elite Hurdle from Sceau Royal in November over the same near two-mile trip he faces here.

Knappers Hill was last seen finishing fourth in the Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham, tackling an extended two and a half miles on testing ground on New Year’s Day.

Believing the trip and the conditions to have been unsuitable, Nicholls is confident the bay can return to winning ways with more in his favour at Wincanton.

He said: “He’s got a nice chance. There is a chaser switching (Global Citizen) that will want good ground and they’ll have been waiting for this time of year with them.

Knappers Hill
Knappers Hill (right) (David Davies/PA)

“Racing is very competitive at the moment, it’s hard to get those winners but we would like to run well in the big races this weekend with Pic D’Orhy (at Ascot) and Knappers Hill.”

The trainer added: “He’s taken giant strides over the past 18 months and has now won nine of his 13 starts for us, including the Elite Hurdle over this trip and track on Bonfire Night.

“He didn’t quite get home at Cheltenham over two and a half miles on soft ground.

“That has happened before and he will be much happier back at two miles on nice ground. This race should be right up his street.”

Knappers Hill will face just three rivals including Nicky Henderson’s First Street, who finished third in the Relkeel, some eight lengths in front.

Nigel Twiston-Davies is represented by I Like To Move It, the aforementioned Grand Annual winner Global Citizen switches back to hurdles for Ben Pauling.