Feature: Sam Twiston-Davies primed for Jumps season

Mon 23 Oct 2017

Watch our two-part special with 10-times champion trainer Paul Nicholls and read our feature on Sam Twiston-Davies on the Jumps season ahead, a French import that excites him and a Grand National dark horse.

Christmas Racing Weekend - Day One - Ascot Racecourse

With the luxury of having 10-times champion trainer Paul Nicholls supporting him, Sam Twiston-Davies has plenty of reasons to be excited at what lies ahead this season.

Throw into the mix the pick of horses from his father and trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies, together with those from Dr Richard Newland, and it creates an almost perfect recipe to give the 25-year-old the chance to achieve his ultimate aim this season.

He said: "I've come in with a strong team at Paul's, dad's and Dr Newland's. It is the dream to ride 150 winners for the first time. The one target I set out every year is to ride 100 winners. Once you get to 100 winners then you can put ideas into your head about new targets."

He went on: "I had the spleen injury at the start of last season, which was a bit of a pain, and if I had not had that it would have probably been my best season in terms of number of winners.

"I was very happy that I had a solid year, the whole time we were rebuilding trying to get those Grade One horses again."

Although forced to spend a spell on the sidelines last October there was still plenty of memorable moments for the Grade One-winning rider to look back on.

He said: "I think Vicente would be very high up there for me, coming back to win the Scottish National. We had a bit of an up and down day and him winning the Scottish National for a second time was massive.

"My first big winner of the season back on Frodon was absolutely unbelievable as well. He ran a little bit disappointingly in the BetVictor so to come back and do it together in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup was great.

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"The New One was exceptional again, winning another two races last season. He was nine in January, but he showed he was still able to mix it with the best of them."

Politologue is one of the horses Twiston-Davies is looking forward to being reunited with this season.

He said: "He had a great season last year and was just a bit unlucky at Aintree. It was just one of those things that he just pitched a couple of strides after the fence. He will be back, though.

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"He is a lovely jumper and I see him mixing it in some of the best two-mile races. It is a very competitive division, but hopefully he can win some along the way.

"He is a strong stayer over two miles and he jumps very well, which is his main asset. He is very well measured and is quick from A to B. He is just a pleasure to ride. He will have to step up again, but he is only young so hopefully he will keep on improving."

Former Champion Bumper winner Ballyandy is another.

The rider said: "Dad has got some nice ones, but I am looking forward to Ballyandy again this season. He has had a good summer and looks in really good shape.

"He had an interesting season last year, but he still won the Betfair Hurdle really well. Now he is getting older and has had another summer on him two and a half would be his optimum trip.

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"He had always shown plenty of respect at his hurdles, as if he wanted a fence. Fingers crossed he will keep on improving over fences now that he is relaxing in his races."

Twiston-Davies could have a Grand National dark horse, too, with Binge Drinker having switched to Nicholls from Rebecca Curtis.

He explained: "He has come over from Rebecca Curtis' yard. He beat Might Bite at Ffos Las and we are looking at the Grand National long-term with him, we thought that might be quite interesting. He has got a nice way of going about things.

"He won't be one that is rushed. When the horse is ready they will come up with a plan for him."

He also has a nice word for French import Sao: "He looks to be a smart juvenile for this season. He is a nice looking horse and schooled well first time up at Paul's. He winged round there.

"Sometimes for young horses it can a take a little bit of adapting on the schooling area at Paul's, but it came quick to him the first day, which is something that seriously impressed me.

"I liked his attitude and hopefully there will be plenty to come from him this season. He fell first time out (in France), then won, so he has a bit of form there."

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