Nigel Twiston-Davies hopes for further Festival success in 2022
Nigel Twiston-Davies is no stranger to big race success, winning the 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Aintree Grand National in 1998 and 2002. The trainer issued a timely reminder of his skills when saddling the novice Undersupervision to win the Grimthorpe Chase last weekend. He has seventeen Cheltenham Festival winners to his credit but has drawn a blank since Blaklion and Ballyandy in 2016.
Ballyandy is one of four possible Coral Cup runners for the yard along with Gowel Road, Beauport and Guard Your Dreams. His top novice I Like To Move It could contest the County Hurdle and Fantastikas is set to make his handicap debut in the Ultima. Undersupervision looks unlikely to make the cut at the festival but Vienna Court and Zambella look festival-bound. We’ve whittled down the list for five to follow from the Twiston-Davies stable at the Cheltenham Festival 2022.
Ballyandy (Coral Cup or Pertemps Final)
Ballyandy has been a fine servant to the Twiston-Davies stable, winning ten of his 38 races under rules. His biggest victories were the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham in 2016, the Betfair Hurdle in 2017 and the Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock in 2020. Only last season he finished runner-up in the Greatwood Hurdle attempting to concede almost two stone to The Shunter. He was only beaten half a length into third in the 2019 Coral Cup and there will be worse 25-1 chances than him if he runs in that race this year.
I Like To Move It (County Hurdle or Supreme Novices Hurdle)
The County Hurdle looks the best opportunity for I Like To Move It, beaten a short-head by Glory And Fortune in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury. Twiston-Davies rates the five-year-old highly enough to leave him in the Supreme but that is looking red hot this year. He may well have won at Newbury in another couple of strides so the Cheltenham hill should suit him.
Beauport (Coral Cup or Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Hurdle)
Beauport has finished runner-up in his last three races, being raised by the handicapper each time. He could not quite peg back top weight Dashel Drasher at Newbury in December and then finished three-quarters of a length behind Green Book in the valuable Heroes Handicap Hurdle at Sandown. He has gone up a further 6lbs which puts him in with a great chance of getting a run in the Coral Cup and guarantees him a place in the Martin Pipe.
Gowel Road (Coral Cup or Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Hurdle)
Gowel Road has a similar profile and the six-year-old is currently shorter than Beauport in the Coral Cup and Martin Pipe. He beat Unexpected Party by two and a half lengths at Cheltenham in November and is 11lbs better off at the weights at the festival. He has since finished third at Newbury and runner-up to Metier in heavy ground at Lingfield Park.
Fantastikas (Ultima Handicap Chase or National Hunt Chase)
Fantastikas races in the colours made famous by Imperial Commander in the 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup. The seven-year-old is not in that class but he is a decent novice, finishing behind useful types in Threeunderthrufive at Doncaster and L’Homme Presse at Cheltenham. He then beat Queenohearts by a short-head in desperate ground at Lingfield over three miles. The son of Davidoff showed good battling qualities that day and could be well handicapped off a rating of 144.