Ballyoptic facing race against time to make Welsh National

Thu 13 Dec 2018

Nigel Twiston-Davies is keeping his fingers crossed Ballyoptic recovers from a bruised shoulder in time to contest the Coral Welsh Grand National at Chepstow later this month.

The eight-year-old, who is general 12-1 shot for the marathon event, sustained the setback when suffering a mid-race fall in the Becher Chase at Aintree on Saturday, on his first start over the Grand National fences.

Ballyoptic was beaten just a nose in the Scottish Grand National in April

The Naunton handler said: “Ballyoptic was going really well until he fell, I couldn’t have been more pleased.

“He has just bruised a shoulder. I’ve no idea how long it will keep him out for, it will just depend on how the horse comes along.

“Hopefully he will be back for the Welsh National. Aintree will be his real target in April, as he stays and normally jumps well.”

Twiston-Davies feels 2017 Becher winner Blaklion, who beat just one home in his bid for back-to-back victories in the three-and-a-quarter-mile prize at the weekend, needs his mark to be revised.

Twiston-Davies said: “Blaklion was a little disappointing, but he jumped well again. I was devastated he only came down 1lb in the weights. He went up 8lb for winning it last year, so why has he not come down a bit more in the weights this year?

“He won by nine lengths last year, but the second (The Last Samuri) and third (Highland Lodge) have done nothing since.

“Basically he wants to be reassessed, but that is up to the handicappers.”

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