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National Hunt horses to follow - Three from Nigel Twiston-Davies’ stable to track this season

Jonathan Vine 10 Oct 2018
Nigel Twiston-Davies (right) and son, Sam poses for a photo at Chepstow.

Our expert takes a look through Nigel Twiston-Davies stable and highlights three horses for punters to follow during the jumps season.


Nigel-Twiston Davies’ season was kick-started at Haydock last year, as Bristol De Mai ran away with the Betfair Chase, securing the widest-margin victory in a Grade One on British soil. Splash Of Ginge was a popular winner of BetVictor Gold Cup and ran a blinder at the Cheltenham Festival, but there were mixed fortunes for another stable-favourite, Blaklion, who’s second attempt at the Grand National came to a dramatic end at the very first fence.

Bristol De Mai will again lead Twiston-Davies’ troops into the new season, with the likes of Wholestone and The New One expected to play a supporting role once more. Our expert has taken a look through NTD’s ranks and picked out three horses for punters to watch closely during the new season.

Good Boy Bobby


Running in the famous silks of Paul and Clare Rooney, Good Boy Bobby won two of his three starts in bumpers for Twiston-Davies last season. Convincing victories at Chepstow and Wetherby were sandwiched around a third-place finish in Listed company, where the favourite was beaten by future Champion Bumper fouth, Acey Milan.

The plan is now to go novice hurdling and you can expect to see Good Boy Bobby run several times between now and the spring. The son of Flemensfirth is currently a 40/1 shot with Ladbrokes to win the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle with several bookmakers, but his obvious enjoyment of heavy ground will bring races like the Rossington Main Hurdle at Haydock or the Finesse at Cheltenham into the equation during the winter.

Daryl Jacob riding Ballymoy (left) clear after the last to win The bet365 Novices Championship Final Handicap Hurdle at Sandown.

Ballymoy


After finishing fifth on his hurdling debut behind Kalashnikov, Nigel Twiston-Davies decided a wind-op was needed to help Ballymoy improve. Three straight victories followed, culminating in an excellent victory in the Novices’ Hurdle Championship Final at Sandown, where Daryl Jacob’s mount powered home from the rear of the field to eventually win by almost two lengths.

Twiston-Davies has the option to remain over hurdles, with tilts at the County Hurdle or the Coral Cup possible end-of-season targets. Ballymoy does, however, have a background in point-to-point racing, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Munir & Souede-owned gelding jump a fence at some point this season, with a Close Brothers’ Handicap at Cheltenham a possible goal.

Sam Twiston-Davies riding Ballyoptic during a victory over fences at Exeter.

Ballyoptic


2016 Sefton winner, Ballyoptic endured a fairly forgettable campaign in 2016/17 and, after struggling on his reappearance over hurdles last season, NTD decided the time was right to give his charge a look at some fences. An emphatic 13 length victory over the talented Elegant Escape was followed by two defeats behind Black Corton, the second of which coming when Ballyoptic finished fourth in Kauto Star at Kempton.

Despite a comfortable victory over Vintage Clouds in the Grade Two Towton Novices' Chase, Ballyoptic was still largely overlooked as he took his chance in the RSA at Cheltenham. Presenting Percy proved a class above his rivals in that Group One, but Twiston-Davies will have been delighted to see his charge plug on well down the home straight and win the race for second.

Ballyoptic’s novice campaign rounded off at Ayr, where the eight-year-old looked on-course to seal a historic victory in the Scottish Grand National, only to be pipped on the line by Joe Farrell. Despite that narrowest of defeats, that experience should stand Ballyoptic in excellent stead heading into the new season and I’d be amazed if Twiston-Davies wasn’t targeting a return to Aintree in April to have a crack at the Grand National.


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National Hunt horses to follow - Three from Nigel Twiston-Davies’ stable to track this season

Our expert takes a look through Nigel Twiston-Davies stable and highlights three horses for punters to follow during the jumps season.

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