Sam Twiston-Davies lands plum ride on Grand National favourite Blaklion

Wed 14 Feb 2018
bet365 Meeting - Wetherby Racecourse Blaklion will have a new jockey on at Haydock Saturday (PA)

By staff

Sam Twiston-Davies will ride Blaklion at Haydock on Saturday with a view to maintaining the partnership in the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree.

Trained by the leading rider's father Nigel Twiston-Davies, the nine-year-old was fourth in the world's most famous steeplechase last April and is the general 10-1 favourite for this year's renewal.

Twiston-Davies has not ridden Blaklion in public since he finished fourth in the Sefton Novices' Hurdle in 2015, but is thrilled to be getting back on board in the Betfred Grand National Trial this weekend, and again in the Aintree spectacular on April 14.

He said on Wednesday: "I am riding Blaklion and Zarkandar (Rendlesham Hurdle) at Haydock on Saturday. I am looking forward to riding Blaklion. I'm riding him with the provision that I then ride him in the Grand National.

"Fingers crossed it all goes well at Haydock on Saturday. I've spent a lot of time with the horse and Ryan Hatch (who rode Blaklion regularly in 2016). It will be a pleasure to ride him on Saturday and then in the National."

Twiston-Davies is free to ride Blaklion at Aintree after being given the green light by his main boss Paul Nicholls.

Christmas Racing Weekend - Day One - Ascot Racecourse

He added: "Unfortunately Sametegal doesn't look like he will get in the National and Warriors Tale and As De Mee are horses that Sean Bowen usually rides regularly.

"It is kind of Paul and the team to let me take this opportunity."

Ryan Hatch had been Blaklion's regular rider until getting injured.

In his past six starts, Blaklion has had five different jockeys - Hatch, Noel Fehily, Jamie Bargary and, on his last two starts, Gavin Sheehan.

Twiston-Davies has ridden him five times, guiding the gelding to his first three wins under Rules.

The last father-son combination to win the National was Ted and Ruby Walsh, via Papillon in 2000.

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