Tag Archive for: Nigel Twiston-Davies

Casa No Mento a famous Punchestown winner for Twiston-Davies

There was a raiding success for Nigel and Sam Twiston-Davies at the Punchestown Festival as Casa No Mento toughed it out to land a blow in the Close Brothers Mares Novice Hurdle.

The only horse able to claim Casa No Mento’s scalp this season is Harry Derham’s Queens Gamble and she was sent off a 4-1 chance for this Listed event as connections looked to join fellow British trainer Tom Lacey on the week’s scoresheet.

Leading the field into the home straight she pulled out all the stops to hold off Willie Mullins’ Got Glory, finding extra when it mattered to strike by a length and three-quarters.

“She’s exceptional. She is the only horse I’ve ever seen that can work with I Like To Move It,” said Willy Twiston-Davies, who is assistant to his father.

“We got dropped 2lb after getting beat by Queens Gamble and we were a bit disappointed, but Sam said she wasn’t herself. She’s three from four over hurdles and is the fastest filly we’ve ever had.

“I rang Patrick Mullins on Thursday when I was in Huntingdon and said ‘have you got the entries for Punchestown as I can’t see our filly in’. He sent me a screenshot and said ‘don’t’ worry she’s in there’.

“I asked him if it was worth bringing her over and he said she had every chance so a bit of the credit must go to him!”

Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies was smiling at Punchestown
Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies was smiling at Punchestown (Mike Egerton/PA)

He went on: “We’ve always thought she’s very good and she proved that today. I think she’ll be better again on faster ground.

“We’ll probably run her on the Flat now, she’s too fast – that’s her talent. Sam said whatever he wanted to do with her she was there, she’s a very pacy mare.

“It’s quite fun coming over here and beating the Irish. We had a second at Fairyhouse and dad said to me ‘what are you doing running another one at Punchestown?’.

“We have to come over a give it a go. Willie had five in, but you have to try to beat him. She’s a good mare and she deserves to be there. She’s no Lossiemouth, but she’s very good in her own right and we’ll enjoy today.”

Veteran campaigner Singing Banjo came to the fore to take the Mongey Communications La Touche Cup Cross Country Chase for the second time.

Barry Walsh and Singing Banjo
Barry Walsh and Singing Banjo (Brian Lawless/PA)

The 14-year-old is a veritable specialist around the banks course, having won the race in 2021 as part of a famous double that also included the Ladies Perpetual Cup.

His experience served him well and after locking horns with Coko Beach and Three By Two he stayed on best of all triumph by three-quarters of a length.

“He just stays galloping all day, he needs a trip,” said Barry John Walsh, for was enjoying his first as a trainer as well as being the man in the saddle.

“He got hampered a little bit at the old double, it wasn’t ideal but he was hard and finished out strong.

“He loves the banks and we aim him for these races the whole time. The ground was just against us all season, he wants good ground.

“He won on firm here when taking the Ladies Cup and La Touche in one week. I was delighted to see it drying a bit here yesterday.

“He’s lightly-raced and we’ll see how he comes out of this. He’s declared for Saturday and we’ll see tomorrow how he is.

“We’d be hoping to get another season out of him for the cross-country, maybe at Cheltenham if the ground comes up good.”

The Listed Frontline Security Handicap Chase went the way of Noel Meade’s Pinkerton after a photo finish was required to split the first two over the line.

The winner went off at 15-2 under Sam Ewing and came out on top in a field of 17, prevailing by a short head just over a week after scoring at Tipperary.

“He came out of last week’s race great. I was a disappointed he didn’t win a bit easier there as it was a very ordinary contest, he struggled a bit and was maybe in front a bit long,” said Meade.

“Today when he went to the front he wandered a bit going to the last.

“It’s great for the owners to win here, he’s been a super little horse for them.

“He’s tough and the jockey is very good, he’s very strong.

“He mightn’t go on real quick ground, he wants an ease, but we’ll carry on for the moment and see how we go.”

Maxxum scoots clear to bag a valuable prize
Maxxum scoots clear to bag a valuable prize (Brian Lawless/PA)

Maxxum supplemented his Listed handicap victory at Leopardstown earlier in the season and plundered more valuable prize-money in the Conway Piling Handicap Hurdle.

He was sent off 28-1 in the hands of conditional Carl Miller when scoring at the Dublin Racing Festival and it was a case of history repeated as he obliged under the same jockey and same odds in Kildare.

Carl seems to only win 100 grand handicaps!” said winning trainer Gordon Elliott.

“He’s a great fella, he’s working full-time in the yard and he deserves every bit of success he’s getting.

“He doesn’t do anything wrong and keeps it very simple.

“He was running a great race the last day in Fairyhouse and took a false step after the second-last and fell. We came here fresh today, took a chance, and it worked out great.”

Elliott was also in the winner’s enclosure after the concluding JP & M Doyle (C & G) INH Flat Race as Wingmen showed a great attitude to win at odds of 18-1.

Beauport bags Midlands National glory

Jordan Nailor enjoyed one of his biggest days in the saddle when steering Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Beauport to bet365 Midlands Grand National glory at Uttoxeter.

The 25-year-old has regularly partnered the Bryan and Philippa Burrough-owned eight-year-old and was aboard when landing the Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase in the autumn of 2022.

However, having been narrowly denied in the London National in December and then disappointing when last seen at Warwick in the Classic Chase in January, the duo’s triumph in the £150,000 contest was the perfect way to get back on track.

Sent off at odds of 18-1, Beauport was always handy despite hanging to his right as he was forced to chart a wide path around the Staffordshire track.

Moving into the home straight for the final time, he proved the biggest danger to Emma Lavelle’s My Silver Lining on the front end and after jumping the final obstacle locked together, they held a slim advantage with Mr Incredible and Autonomous Cloud also staying on not too far behind.

But it was the Twiston-Davies runner who had most left in reserve at the end of four and a quarter miles, staying on strongly to the line as the petrol tanks of his rivals began to empty.

Beauport and jockey Jordan Nailor after winning the bet365 Midlands Grand National
Beauport and jockey Jordan Nailor after winning the bet365 Midlands Grand National (Nigel French.PA)

It is of course not the first time the Burrough colours have been worn to National success and the gelding’s trainer hopes he could one one day follow in the footsteps of Corbiere and line up at Aintree for the Grand National itself.

“It was really brilliant and really exciting,” said Twiston-Davies.

“It’s brilliant for Jordan as he’s had a bit of a quiet season and it was great, we’re all really happy.

“Jordan has won a few big races on him before and it all went well on the day. We have no idea why he ran so bad at Warwick but it all went better for him this time.

“I hope it will be the Grand National one day. The owners had Corbiere and he will hopefully follow in his footsteps.”

Jordan Nailor with the bet365 Midlands Grand National trophy
Jordan Nailor with the bet365 Midlands Grand National trophy (Nigel French/PA)

Nailor told Sky Sports Racing: “He went so well and his jumping was keeping him up there, so I just sat and let him travel. It wasn’t exactly plan A.

“He’s such a nice horse and has given me some brilliant days in my career. All the thanks go to Faye who rides him out every day and Carl (Llewellyn) and the owners and I’m very, very happy.

“He tries every time and we’ve had an up-and-down season. He was good in the London National but apart from that he hasn’t been himself really. It is nice to see him win another big one.

“This horse has been with me since I was a 5lb claimer, so all the way through to now it has been a brilliant partnership. It means an awful lot.”

Excuses emerge for lacklustre Broadway show

Broadway Boy was found to be suffering from stomach ulcers after he disappointed at Warwick behind Grey Dawning.

Having won three of his first four outings over fences, the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained novice was prominent in the betting for the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase next month.

However, having been harried for the lead he was beaten approaching the second last and finished over 30 lengths behind Grey Dawning.

Whether he now steps up in trip for the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham or goes for the Grade One Brown Advisory has still to be decided.

“It’s completely up in the air and there’s a lot of water to go under the bridge yet,” said assistant trainer Willy Twiston-Davies.

Broadway Boy has valuable Cheltenham form in the book
Broadway Boy has valuable Cheltenham form in the book (David Davies/PA)

“It’s been narrowed down to either the Brown Advisory or the National Hunt Chase but that is it, we’re not sure yet and we’ll make a decision the week before, probably. Both options are definitely open.

“It will be a case of seeing who goes where and what the ground is looking like.

“He’d be close to the top of the ratings for the National Hunt Chase whereas he might have to improve slightly for the Brown Advisory, but we’ll see nearer the time.

“He scoped badly after Warwick and then we also found that he had stomach ulcers as well, but we’re back on track now.”

Twiston-Davies hails ‘brilliant’ Zambella as mare bows out

Nigel Twiston-Davies has paid tribute to his star mare Zambella after her retirement from racing.

Owned by Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, Zambella joined the Twiston-Davies team in 2019 and would go on to win nine times in the owners’ famous double green silks.

Winner of 12 of her 29 starts overall, she struck eight times at Listed level with her final outing coming when pulled up in search of a third victory in Doncaster’s Yorkshire Silver Vase Mares’ Chase.

Zambella was a standing dish in the two-and-a-half-mile mares' chases
Zambella was a standing dish in the two-and-a-half-mile mares’ chases (Richard Sellers/PA)

Twiston-Davies said: “She has been brilliant, she jumped beautifully and was so genuine and it is a great shame she has got to retire, but she will breed some lovely foals I think.”

Zambella also won the Houghton Mares’ Chase for three successive years and by a combined winning distance of over 35 lengths such was her dominance in a race that was twice ran at Aintree when rescheduled from its usual home of Carlisle.

She competed three times at the Cheltenham Festival in the Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase, falling when travelling strongly three from the finish in 2021 before returning to Prestbury Park to finish fourth in the following two years.

“She was the best of the British but then the Irish would come over and beat her at the Festival,” continued Twiston-Davies.

“But otherwise she was best of the Brits and there are lots of highlights. We hope we can find another one.”

Master-ful Chewy bags Wayward Lad spoils

Master Chewy made light work of his rivals to run out a decisive winner of the Ladbrokes Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase at Kempton.

Nigel Twiston-Davies’ six-year-old has bumped into the high-class novice Djelo and on-song Elixir De Nutz since scoring at Aintree earlier in the season and was sent off at 13-8 to get back to winning ways in this Grade Two event.

Master Chewy’s rider Tom Bellamy was content to bide his time as Bourbali and Sarah Humphrey’s Nickle Back matched strides up front, putting on an exhibition of jumping.

However, Master Chewy was hot on that duo’s heels after four out and with Bourbali giving way after the third-last, Bellamy was stalking Nickle Back down to two out before sauntering his way to the front approaching the last.

A huge leap at the final fence put the seal on victory as he came home four-and-three-quarter-lengths clear of the 6-5 favourite for a taking success.

Willy Twiston-Davies is assistant to his father and said: “You can’t knock his form at all as he has been very good. He has been called a few names, but I think it is important that he gets there late.

“He was beaten by a more experienced rival last time then at Aintree they took three fences out up the home straight and that completely mucked him up as his jumping is where he gets his air in his lungs and that helps him and that is why he is so much better over fences than hurdles.

“Tom said he gave him a squeeze going to three out and he was then straight back on the bridle. He is a very pacey horse.

“I’m delighted for Jamie and Anne-Marie (Shepperd, owners) as they are very big supporters of the yard. It is great to get them a big winner over Christmas.

“This will never make up for I Like To Move It (who was fatally injured earlier in the season for the same owners) as he was so special, but it is so nice to repay Jamie and Anne-Marie and give them good winners on the big days as they put a lot into our yard. It is lovely to support them to.

“We have got a really good squad and a really good bunch of owners who keep supporting us. We are allowed to buy what we want, and we are left to it. We are very lucky as we don’t have too much stress.”

On plans, Twiston-Davies said: “He is very talented. We will either look at the Kingmaker at Warwick or the Lightning with him at Lingfield before Cheltenham. He is a very decent horse.

“We will then see how goes after that. The Arkle can often be a small field, so why not (give it a go).”

Broadway Boy puts on another show at Cheltenham

Broadway Boy continued his steep upward trajectory over fences with a determined victory in the Favourite From The Sun Now Daily Handicap Chase at Cheltenham.

The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained five-year-old had won two of his first three starts since having his attentions switched to the larger obstacles, his only defeat coming at the hands of dual Stayers’ Hurdle hero Flooring Porter at this track in October.

Having since returned to Cheltenham to win a Listed novice event by 20 lengths, Broadway Boy was a heavily supported 11-8 favourite stepping into a £100,000 handicap that featured a Betfair Chase winner and Gold Cup third in Protektorat – and the Twiston-Davies runner proved more than up to the task.

Connections pose with Broadway Boy in the Cheltenham winner's enclosure
Connections pose with Broadway Boy in the Cheltenham winner’s enclosure (Nigel French/PA)

Given an attacking ride from the front by the trainer’s son Sam, the Malinas gelding did make a couple of jumping errors along the way but was always doing enough on the run-in to see off his long-time challenger Threeunderthrufive by a length and a quarter.

Dan Skelton can rightly take plenty of heart from the performance of Protektorat, who bounced back from a disappointing defence of his Betfair Chase crown at Haydock last month to finish an honourable third under the welter burden of 12 stone.

Of the winner, Twiston-Davies senior said: “His jumping was brilliant on the whole, but he made three mistakes down the back and if it wasn’t for those, he would have won quite easily. He is very tough and really good.

“After the last day, this race came onto the agenda. We are always looking for big money and this race was worth a lot of money.

“We certainly do like pitching novice chasers against experienced horses when we get the chance. We have done all our lives, and we have earned a lot of money doing that.

“I was delighted when Protektorat was declared to keep the weights down – it meant the world to us.

“He could go for either the National Hunt Chase or the Brown Advisory come the Festival. We will just have to see what the opposition looks like before making those decisions.”

Jonjo O’Neill senior and junior combined to land the John Wyke Memorial Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase with 5-1 shot Are U Wise To That.

Are U Wise To That on his way to victory
Are U Wise To That on his way to victory (Nigel French/PA)

The six-year-old travelled like the best horse in the race for much of the extended three-mile-one-furlong contest, but looked set to come off second best when Irish raider Midnight Our Fred kicked a couple of lengths clear between the final two fences.

To his credit, though, Are U Wise To That gritted his teeth to stay in the fight and finished the stronger of the pair up the hill to prevail by a length and three-quarters.

“When he missed the second-last, I thought he was beaten, to be honest,” said the winning trainer. “Then he jumped the last okay, but he stuck to his guns well, to be fair, so we are happy.

“His jumping was average, but he has got around. He does it in his own fashion, but he won nicely.

“It is nice to know that he can get around Cheltenham and you would have to look at the Ultima at the Festival with him.”

Madara (right) and Harry Cobden knuckle down on the run-in
Madara (right) and Harry Cobden knuckle down on the run-in (Nigel French/PA)

The Sophie Leech-trained Madara secured top honours in the two-mile Quintessentially Handicap Chase.

Favourite backers will have been getting excited after In Excelsis Deo moved to the front, but 9-1 shot Madara proved too strong on the run-in and passed the post with three and a quarter lengths in hand.

Leech said: “I’m absolutely delighted. He is a lovely young horse to have and he is very straightforward. He is just a joy really.

“We really felt after his last run that he needed further, and we were really keen to run in the December Gold Cup, but because of his four-year-old allowance, Fakir D’Oudairies put us so far out of the weights it just wasn’t worthwhile.

“Hopefully, he will be back here in March somewhere.”

The concluding Virgin Bet Every Saturday Money Back Mares’ Handicap Hurdle went to 11-2 shot Nurse Susan, trained by Dan Skelton and ridden by his brother Harry.

Broadway Boy benefits from bold ride by Bellamy

Tom Bellamy cut a delighted figure as he steered Broadway Boy to an emphatic success at Cheltenham on Saturday.

Second to Flooring Porter over course and distance last month, he was sent off the 9-4 joint favourite for the Listed From The Horse’s Mouth Podcast Novices’ Chase and was given a bold ride by his pilot, which paid dividend as he scorched 20 lengths clear of stablemate Weveallbeencaught climbing the hill.

The five-year-old was introduced into the Brown Advisory betting at 20-1 with Coral and trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies could now test the waters in Graded company, having thrilled connections with his brilliant display.

Jockey Tom Bellamy celebrates with Willie Twiston-Davies
Jockey Tom Bellamy celebrates with Willie Twiston-Davies (David Davies for the Jockey Club/PA)

He said: “I thought he was very impressive and he beat our other horse a long way – and he is pretty good, so happy days.

“Funnily enough, he didn’t school very well when he started but he soon warmed up to it.

“It was a good run (behind Flooring Porter) and he’s improved for it. I think we will stay over three at the minute, he seems to have plenty of speed but let’s see.

“There’s no point rushing into anything at the moment and we will see how he comes out of it, but there is always the three-mile race at Kempton (Kauto Star Novices’ Chase on Boxing Day) and that is a possibility, we will see.”

Paul Gilligan could have a Stayers’ Hurdle candidate on his hands having watched his son Jack boot home Buddy One in the Paddy Power Games Handicap Hurdle.

Third to Iroko in the Martin Pipe at the Festival in March, the improving six-year-old thrived at Galway last month and obliged favourite backers on his first try at three miles.

“To watch your son come up the hill on a horse you train, it’s heaven,” said Gilligan.

“This is a special place, a field of dreams, it can be heaven or it can be hell. It can be anything and when you go home after horses run bad, it’s a nightmare, but the dream has come true there now.

“He was really unlucky in the Martin Pipe, but he was straight as a gun-barrel there when he jumped the last. This is magic and it’s just a pity my wife isn’t here today, she’s at home keeping the yard going but this is heaven.

“Today is just so special, my son riding him and another leading him up. There’s a lot of us here and there will be a lot of people happy in Galway today.”

The Buddy One team celebrate their Cheltenham win
The Buddy One team celebrate their Cheltenham win (Nigel French/PA)

Handicaps are now off the table for the 9-4 winner, who could take in the Hatton’s Grace at Fairyhouse next, but who ultimately will be back at Prestbury Park in March for a crack at the Festival’s day-three feature.

“I didn’t think he would be beaten today – his Galway run was really good and after winning this race off top-weight, he is out of handicaps now. Possibly, depending on how he comes out of the race, he could go to the Hatton’s Grace. We will have to meet Willie and Gordon there, but why not.

“I thought after Galway he might go to the Pertemps but there is no point going Pertemps. It’s quite possible he will come back here for the Stayers’ Hurdle.”

Another with Graded ambitions is Springwell Bay (85-40 favourite), who justified Jonjo O’Neill’s long-held belief he was a smart operator with a taking victory in the Paddy Power Intermediate Handicap Hurdle.

The six-year-old may now head to the Relkeel Hurdle back at Prestbury Park on New Year’s Day, with O’Neill dreaming he could replicate the exploits of owner Gay Smith’s Blackjack Ketchum at some stage in the future.

Springwell Bay clears the last on the way to victory at Cheltenham
Springwell Bay clears the last on the way to victory at Cheltenham (Nigel French/PA)

He said: “I hope he will be (a Pattern horse) and he needed to do that today to be that type of horse. You would have to be thinking of it (Relkeel Hurdle) and those are the races you have to be looking at.

“I liked what I saw, but I didn’t come here with lots of confidence. We’ve been very lucky (for the owner) and let’s hope he is another Blackjack Ketchum.

“If he’s as good as him, he’ll do. We’ll let the horse do the talking. We’re happy today, that was a nice starting point and we have a nice horse to go to war with.”

There was a win for Gavin Cromwell’s Hascoeur Clermont (12-1) in the Wienerberger Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap Chase, while in the same race there was a 20-day ban handed out to Billy Coonan for his ride aboard Tony Martin’s Read To Return.

Although backed into favouritism, the young rider was adjudged to have failed to take all reasonable and permissible measures throughout the race to obtain the best possible placing, having been 15 lengths down at the last before staying on into fifth.

There was further joy for Ireland when Willie Mullins’ Baby Kate (7-2) took the concluding Karndean Designflooring Mares’ Open National Hunt Flat Race.

The four-year-old, who is a daughter of Augusta Kate, was bred by former footballer Kevin Doyle and with Listed honours secured, could go in search of further black type in the new year.

“We were lucky to lease her off Kevin Doyle and the lads (owners, Gorm Agus Ban Syndicate) are a group of local lads and they are living the dream,” said Patrick Mullins.

“She didn’t win impressively at Ballinrobe but I thought the penny only dropped late with her. We wanted black type and it was either come here or Navan and we thought the ground might be slightly nicer here.

“She’s one of the smallest horses in the yard, she’s tiny, but she’s strong and she has ability.

“For Kevin, who owns her and leased her to us, it’s fantastic to get black type for him with that pedigree and we’ll look at all the black type bumpers in the spring now. We’ll probably go to the Dublin Racing Festival first, then see where we go after that.”

2024 Charlie Hall Chase Trends

Run at Wetherby racecourse the Bet365 Charlie Hall Chase is a Grade 2 contest run over 3m1f. With 18 fences to be jumped this gives National Hunt fans an early season chance to see some of the top chasers back on the track, and can often provide a good guide to the main jumps festivals later in the season.

We take a look back at recent winners and gives you all the stats that matter ahead of the Charlie Hall Chase race - did you know that 14 of the last 22 winners were aged 8 or older, while it's a race the Nigel Twiston-Davies yard have a great record in - winning it six times, including in two of the last 7 seasons.

Recent Charlie Hall Chase Winners

2023 - GENTLEMANSGAME (7/2)
2022 – BRAVEMANSGAME (2/1)
2021 - FUSIL RAFFLES (10/3)
2020 - CYRNAME (3/1)
2019 – BALLYOPTIC (11/4)
2018 – DEFINITLY RED (3/1)
2017 - BRISTOL DE MAI (6/1)
2016 – IRISH CAVALIER (16/1)
2015 – CUE CARD (11/4 fav)
2014 – MENORAH (8/1)
2013 – HARRY TOPPER (5/1)
2012 – SILVINIACO CONTI (11/10 fav)
2011 – WEIRD AL (7/1)
2010 – NACARAT (6/1)
2009 – DEEP PURPLE (9/2)
2008 – STATE OF PLAY (5/2 fav)
2007 – OLLIE MAGERN (11/4)
2006 – OUR VIC (6/1)
2005 – OLLIE MAGERN (5/2 fav)
2004 – GREY ABBEY (5/1)
2003 – BALLYBOUGH RASHER (40/1)
2002 – MARLBOROUGH (7/2)

Charlie Hall Chase Betting Trends

20/22 – Rated 151 or higher
19/22 – Returned 7/1 or shorter in the betting
17/22 – Were having their first run of the season
16/22 – Had won over at least 3m over fences before
14/22 – Aged 8 or older
14/22 – Had won at least 4 times over fences before
12/22 – Aged 8 or 9 years-old
12/22 – Ran at Ayr (3), Aintree (7) or Cheltenham (2) last time out
11/22 – Placed favourites
9/22  - Finished 1st or 2nd last time out
8/22 – Had run at Wetherby before (4 won)
4/22 – Winning favourites
4/22 – Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies (6 wins in total)
3/22 - Trained by Paul Nicholls (5 wins in total)
2/22 – Ridden by Harry Cobden (2 of last 4)
2/22 – Ridden by Daryl Jacob
2/22 – Trained by Evan Williams
Nigel Twiston-Davies has won the race in 1992, 1994, 2005, 2007, 2017 and 2019
The average winning SP in the last 22 runnings is 13/2
The last winner aged 10+ was in 2004 (18 runs ago)

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Bristol De Mai heading for honourable retirement

Time has been called on the glittering career of hugely-popular chaser Bristol De Mai following his run at Haydock on Saturday.

Owned by Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained grey was victorious six times at his beloved Merseyside venue, including a hat-trick of victories in the Betfair Chase between 2017 and 2020.

Bristol De Mai also won the 2016 Altcar Novices’ Chase, the 2017 Peter Marsh Chase and last year’s Grand National Trial at Haydock, but finished well beaten when bidding for back-to-back wins in the latter contest at the weekend.

Connections now feel the time has come to give him an honourable retirement.

Munir wrote on Twitter: “Team Double Green are announcing the retirement of Bristol De Mai.

“It has been a privilege to own him. Bristol has been a legend and retires 100% sound & happy. Our thanks to Nigel, Sparky (Richard Bevis), Daryl (Jacob) & all at Grange Farm.

“It has been a wonderful journey that he has taken us all on!”

It is nine years since Bristol De Mai was bought out of Guillaume Macaire’s yard in the France and he made an immediate impact by providing Munir and Souede with their first Grade One success in the 2014 Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow.

In all he won 12 times, with his big-race haul also including the 2016 Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown and the 2017 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby.

The 12-year-old amassed over £900,000 in prize-money and while his owners are enjoying an excellent season, with Blue Lord and El Fabiolo both winning Grade Ones and heading to next month’s Cheltenham Festival as leading contenders, Bristol De Mai will undoubtedly always have a special place in their hearts.

Bristol De Mai on the gallops
Bristol De Mai on the gallops (Andrew Matthews/PA)

The aforementioned Jacob was a masterful partner of Bristol De Mai, being in the saddle for nine of his 12 victories – including the three Betfair Chases.

He told sportinglife.com: “What a legend of a horse Bristol has been and he’s been a pleasure to ride.

“I’ve enjoyed so many good days on him and some special days with my family too – the kids have grown to love him over the years so he’ll always be remembered fondly.

“His best performance was probably his second Betfair Chase, when he got the better of Native River, Thistlecrack, Clan Des Obeaux and Might Bite.

“The third Betfair gave me a huge amount of pleasure, but in terms of actual performance it was that second win, beating Gold Cup winners.”

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.”

Cuthbert Dibble trumps Leicester rivals

Cuthbert Dibble made it third time lucky at Leicester when taking the EBF British Stallion Studs ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle on Wednesday.

The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained 6-4 favourite had finished third behind some useful rivals at the track in his two hurdles outings so far and thrived for the step up in trip in this two-and-a-half-mile contest to record an easy 19-length success in the hands of the trainer’s son Sam.

The race served as a qualifier for the final of the EBF series at Sandown om March 11 and his handler confirmed that would be the target for this talented five-year-old, who Twiston-Davies envisages becoming a three-mile chaser in time.

He said: “He’s been superb both times here before when showing he needed further and the step up in trip has definitely helped him.

“He’s a stayer and he outstayed them all today – they went quick early on and he outstayed them.

“The idea is he is a three-mile chaser and I think he is definitely that in the making.”

On Sandown, he added: “We would certainly look at that. He may have to have four runs to go there and in which case we will have one more.”

Leicestershire-based owners Graham and Alison Jelley have enjoyed plenty of success with horses trained by Twiston-Davies in the past and were delighted to see their latest charge strike a telling blow at their local track.

“It got a little bit frustrating when he was running well but not quite winning over two miles, but we always knew he needed further and today the proof was in the pudding,” said Graham Jelley.

“It’s our local track and Nigel tries to keep his owners local in their novice stages if we can. We’ve had a good lot of success here, it’s a nice track for novices, whether that is over hurdles or fences.”

Milton Harris was not at Leicester to see Jacamar (2-1 favourite) make a drop in class count to grind out victory in the Leicester Racecourse Ideal Conference Venue Handicap Chase, but was thrilled to hear the news and hopes the victory restores the eight-year-old’s confidence before a return to more challenging company.

He said: “He was due a win and ran a really creditable race in a hot handicap at Cheltenham last time.

“On his day he’s a solid Saturday afternoon handicapper, but we wanted to give him a confidence booster and I suppose we will go back to somewhere like Kempton for a bit better race on a weekend now.

“I am delighted and the horse has been a sensation, he’s been very good for the yard and for the owners. Mark and Maria Adams are very big supporters of our yard and I’m delighted to get another winner for them.”

Jacamar was part one of a Paddy Brennan double, with Fergal O’Brien’s Accidental Legend providing the second leg in the concluding Next Meeting @leicesterraces Thursday 16th February Handicap Hurdle.

The win brought up a hat-trick for the Shirocco gelding, who was sent off the 13-8 second favourite and relished the testing conditions.

“He’s owned by my sponsor Nic Brereton of Bresbet, so there’s always a little bit more pressure when it’s for someone putting so much for the yard,” said O’Brien.

“But I was delighted with him today, he’s a lovely horse who will hopefully take to fences at some point – a long-distance chaser is what he will be.

“Paddy says that ground felt good on him today, so if it dried up at all we’d finish him up – he’s a proper winter horse. He wasn’t stopping and Paddy knew what he had underneath him. He loves an old battle and it’s great that he stuck his neck out.”

Another horse to enjoy the deep ground was David Pipe’s Heure De Gloire (100-30) who was given a fine ride from Tom Scudamore to make all in the racingtv.com Golden Miller Mares’ Handicap Hurdle, while the opening Leicester Racecourse Ideal Self-Hire Wedding Venue Claiming Hurdle went the way of Samuel Drinkwater’s No Rematch (9-4).

Heure De Gloire ridden by Tom Scudamore on their way to winning the racingtv.com Golden Miller Mares’ Handicap Hurdle at Leicester Racecourse
Heure De Gloire ridden by Tom Scudamore on their way to winning the racingtv.com Golden Miller Mares’ Handicap Hurdle at Leicester Racecourse (Tim Goode/PA)

The Best Ticket Deals Online @ leicesterracecourse.co.uk Novices’ Handicap Chase was claimed by Pam Sly’s Mixedwave (7-2), who jumped excellently in the hands of Alex Edwards to open his chasing account at the second time of asking.

“It was only his second run over fences, but he’s slow. I couldn’t believe they made him nearly favourite because he’s so slow,” said Sly.

“He had no weight but Alex Edwards gave him an excellent ride – he’s some horseman.

“I have to thank Paul O’Brien because he has schooled him and schooled him until he was nearly foot perfect.”

Weveallbeencaught poised for Leopardstown raid

Nigel Twiston-Davies is prepared to take on the might of the Irish with Weveallbeencaught at this weekend’s Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown.

While the Naunton handler has enjoyed multiple victories at the Punchestown Festival over the years, he has saddled just one previous runner at Leopardstown, with Moorish finishing down the field in the richly-endowed Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle some 25 years ago.

Weveallbeencaught, a £210,000 purchase after winning an Irish point-to-point, made a successful debut for his new connections in a Newbury bumper last season and made a promising start over hurdles when third behind subsequent Challow winner Hermes Allen in a Grade Two at Cheltenham in November.

The six-year-old went on to justify favouritism in a maiden hurdle at Prestbury Park on New Year’s Day, beating Saturday’s Cheltenham winner Rock My Way, and will step up to Grade One level in the Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors “50,000 Cheltenham Bonus For Stable Staff” Novice Hurdle.

“That’s the plan. It was good to see the horse that was second to him winning at Cheltenham on Saturday. We’re very happy,” said Twiston-Davies.

“The owners wanted to go to Ireland. We’re going to have a crack and we’ll see how we do.”

Weveallbeencaught is an 8-1 shot with Paddy Power for the Dublin Racing Festival curtain-raiser, with Barry Connell’s Good Land heading the market at 2-1.

Other likely contenders for the two-mile-six-furlong contest on the opening afternoon include Henry de Bromhead’s Hiddenvalley Lake, the Paul Nolan-trained Sandor Clegane and American Mike from Gordon Elliott’s yard.

Betfair Hurdle Trends

Staged at Newbury racecourse the Betfair Hurdle is a Grade Three contest run over 2m 1/2f in February each year. First run in 1963, the race is always a hotly-contested race, while some punters might know the even better as either the Tote Gold Trophy or the totesport Trophy, being that’s what the race was called before Betfair took over the sponsorship in 2012.

Despite more obvious Champion Hurdle trials on offer during the season the race has thrown up two horses – Persian War and Make A Stand – that went onto glory at the Cheltenham Festival in the Champion Hurdle later that season, while the 2013 hero - My Tent Or Yours - went onto be second in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

The 2003 winner, Spirit Leader, went onto land the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival the following month, while in 2017 the Nigel Twiston-Davis-trained Ballyandy won the race before running fourth in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. More recently in 2018, Kalashinkov won this before running second in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

In 2019, we saw the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Al Dancer win the race under jockey Sam Twiston-Davies, while last year the Paul Nicholls camp were successful with a 33/1 shot – Pic D’Orhy.

Here at GEEGEEZ, we look back at recent winners of the race and highlights the key stats ahead of the 2021 renewal – this year staged on Sunday 21st February.

 

Recent Betfair Hurdle Winners

2020 – PIC D’ORHY (33/1)
2019 - AL DANCER (5/2 fav)
2018 – KALASHINKOV (8/1 co-fav)
2017 – BALLYANDY (3/1 fav)
2016 – AGRAPART (16/1)
2015 – VIOLET DANCER (20/1)
2014 – SPLASH OF GINGE (33/1)
2013 – MY TENT OR YOURS (5/1 fav)
2012 – ZARKANDAR (11/4 fav)
2011 – RECESSION PROOF (12/1)
2010 – GET ME OUT OF HERE (6/1)
2009 – No race
2008 – WINGMAN (14/1)
2007 – HEATHCOTE (50/1)
2006 – No race
2005 – ESSEX (4/1 fav)
2004 – GEOS (16/1)
2003 – SPIRIT LEADER (14/1)
2002 – COPELAND (13/2)
2001 – LANDING LIGHT (4/1 fav)

Betfair Hurdle Betting Trends

18/18 – Carried 11-8 or less in weight
17/18 – Aged 7 or younger
16/18 – Rated 130 or higher
15/18 – Won between 2-4 times over hurdles in the UK/IRE before
15/18 – Had raced within the last 8 weeks
15/18 – Placed in the top 3 last time out
15/18 – Aged either 5 or 6 years-old
14/18 – Came from the first 7 in the betting
14/18 – Went onto run at that season’s Cheltenham Festival
13/18 – Winning distance – 3 lengths or less
13/18 – Placed favourites
10/18 – Carried 10-9 or less in weight
9/18 – Came from the top 5 in the betting
9/18 – Returned a double-figure price in the betting
8/18 – Irish bred
8/18 – Won last time out
8/18 – Aged 5 years-old (including 8 of last 14)
7/18 – Winning favourites
4/18 – Raced at Cheltenham last time out
3/18 – Trained by Nicky Henderson (has won the race 5 times in all)
3/18 – Trained by Gary Moore
3/18 – Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies (3 of the last 7)
2/18 – Trained by Paul Nicholls (2 of the last 9)
2/18  - Raced at Leopardstown last time out
2/18 – Owned by JP McManus
1/18 – Went onto win the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival that season (Spirit Leader 2003)
23 of the last 24 winners have been aged 7 or younger
The average winning SP in the last 18 runnings is 14/1

 

 

 

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Betfair Chase Trends

Staged at Haydock Park racecourse the Betfair Chase Registered as the Lancashire Chase) is a Grade One race and is run over a slightly longer trip (3m1f). The contest is a fairly new one, being first run in 2005 and takes place in November each season.

Trainer Paul Nicholls has made the race his own, winning the decent prize 6 times in the last 12 years, including four times with Kauto Star, while in 2017 and 2018 we saw the popular grey Bristol De Mai land the pot twice and giving his trainer – Nigel Twiston-Davies – his third success in the contest. 12 months ago the Colin Tizzard camp fired in their fourth Betfair Chase winner when Lostintranslation beat Bristol De Mai.

Here at Geegeez we are on hand with all the key stats ahead of the 2020 renewal – this year run on Saturday November 21st 2020.

 

Recent Betfair Chase Winners

2019 - LOSTINTRANSLATION (5/4 fav)
2018 – BRISTOL DE MAI (13/2)
2017 – BRISTOL DE MAI (11/10 fav)
2016 – CUE CARD (15/8 fav)
2015 – CUE CARD (7/4)
2014 - SILVINIACO CONTI (10/3)
2013 – CUE CARD (9/1)
2012 – SILVINIACO CONTI (7/4)
2011 – KAUTO STAR (6/1)
2010 – IMPERIAL COMMANDER (10/11 fav)
2009 – KAUTO STAR (4/6 fav)
2008 – SNOOPY LOOPY (33/1)
2007 – KAUTO STAR (4/5 fav)
2006 – KAUTO STAR (11/10 fav)
2005 – KINGSCLIFF (8/1)

Key Betfair Chase Betting Trends

15 Previous runnings
13/15 - Won over at least 3m (fences) previously
12/15 - Raced within the last 4 weeks
12/15 – Won by and Irish (4) or French (8) bred horse
12/15 - Placed in the top three in their last race
12/15 - Won a Grade One chase previously
11/15 - Raced at Haydock previously
10/15 - Officially rating of 168 or higher
10/15 – Favourites placed
8/15 – Aged 8 or older
8/15 - Winning distance - 2 ½ lengths or less
7/15 - Raced at Wetherby in the Charlie Hall last time out
7/15 – Won by a previous winner of the race
7/15 – Winning favourites
6/15 – Won their latest race
4/15 - Raced at Aintree last time out
The average winning price in the last 15 runnings is 5/1
The Paul Nicholls yard has won the prize in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012 & 2014
The Nigel Twiston-Davies yard has won the prize in 2010, 2017 and 2018 
The Colin Tizzard yard has won the race in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2019

 

Race Histories 12: The Becher Chase

Hello Bud - age no barrier in the Becher

Hello Bud - age no barrier in the Becher

The Grand National fences have their first test of the season on Saturday, when the Becher chase is run over 3 miles 2 furlongs at Aintree. The race starts immediately after Valentines Brook, so is just shy of one and a half circuits of the National Course. Read more