Twiston-Davies looking forward to Gold run with Al Dancer

Sam Twiston-Davies hopes Al Dancer can build on his promising start to the season in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday week.

The Dai Walters-owned gelding made a winning return to action for the third year in succession when taking a step up to two miles and five furlongs in his stride in an intermediate chase at Newton Abbot last month.

With the benefit of a run behind him, Twiston-Davies expects the seven-year-old, who is trained by his dad Nigel, to strip even fitter when tackling the valuable Grade Three, for which he is as short as 12-1.

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Twiston-Davies said: “It wasn’t easy for him at Newton Abbot as he wasn’t favoured by the weights.

“They went a good gallop all the way, but he was a little bit shorter than we would have wanted him.

“He is in great shape and he will now go to the Paddy Power Gold Cup, so fingers crossed it is all go again there.”

Sam Twiston-Davies felt that Al Dancer would improve for a step up in trip (Adam Davy/PA Images)
Sam Twiston-Davies felt that Al Dancer would improve for a step up in trip (Adam Davy/PA Images)

Despite Al Dancer having to prove himself over the trip last time out, Twiston-Davies was confident it would suit him.

He added: “We hoped the step up in trip would help him, just in the way he was racing, as the season went on as we half thought he had lost a gear.

“He showed that at Newton Abbot as he was off the bridle, but he fought on really well.”

Although Al Dancer failed to add to initial victory at Cheltenham last season in four subsequent outings, Twiston-Davies believes it will be a different story this campaign.

“Hopefully we now know what trip he wants and hopefully we can take that next step up the ladder,” he said.

“He only had the one win last season and with a horse of his calibre, you want to be winning plenty more than that in a season.

“We have a bit of a plan this year and hopefully we can stick to that and get a few more wins to his name.”

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