Sam Supreme and Champion in Trials
As the last meeting proved, funny things can happen on Haydock’s run in on the hurdles course and on a sunny and crisp winter afternoon in this part of Lancashire that very much proved to be the case as trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies along with jockey and son Sam went back down the M6 and M5 to their Cheltenham yard with two victories in the meetings two feature hurdle races which were both won with the very last stride.
First up came Stolen Silver in the Supreme Trial over 2m who looked booked for third place jumping the last flight but clearly Sam’s partner, flat jockey Nicola Currie had been playing him her wins on Raising Sand at Ascot as he kept Stolen Silver in full overdrive to go past market protagonists Edwardstone and Thebannerkingrebel to land the pot right on the line.
This was seriously impressive and now looks to head to Newbury for next months Betfair Hurdle where he has a serious chance especially with his turn of foot on that long run in, it’d be a surprise if he heads to Cheltenham as Aintree would suit him far better.
Next up came the Champion Hurdle Trial over 2m and while all talk was about Pentland Hills getting to put his credentials on the line he didnt expect to be mugged on the line but here he was as Ballyandy who amazingly began his season at Wetherby in the West Yorkshire Hurdle over three miles decided that two was plenty as he nicked the race right on the line by a few pixles to take the bragging rights back to Naunton.
Pentland Hills did look all over the winner jumping the last under Nico De Boinville but certainly didnt expect Ballyandy to be
joining him, he like Ballyandy will line up in the big Championship race in March although wether or not he goes to Wincanton beforehand for another race is probably in the air.
Clouds Cooks Another For Smith
Sue and Harvey Smith were notable non runners this afternoon but fear not, they were simply having some warm weather training in Spain on a winter break but both would have had the telly tuned into either RTV or ITV 4 to see Vintage Clouds give them a third win in five years in the big staying chase of the day, the Peter Marsh Chase.
Right from the front under Danny Cook who himself is no stranger to landing this, Vintage Clouds put in an exemplary round of jumping, considering last month in the Becher at Aintree he looked pretty shaken the staff at the yard in Bingley have done a super effort getting him back to his best, Aintree will be a No No for him but a return visit for next month’s Grand National Trial looks on the cards before heading up to Ayr in the spring for the Scottish equivalent.
One horse who ran a very good trial in second was Definitly Red who was staying on all the time, he looks set for a Kelso visit to put the finishing touches on him before a crack in the big Aintree race.
Brown Hits The Right Note
Saturday’s final Grade 2 of the afternoon came in the Patrick Coyne Altcar Novices’ Chase and last year this race provided the winner of the slightly reduced now Four Miler at the Festival and it’s just possible this could occur again as Sam Brown who looked very much like his namesake in that he wanted to Stop going round the far turn but found his second wind up the straight to end up breezing away fairly effortlessly to route Knight Of Dubai by 15 lengths.
Although the whole field did make jumping errors, most notably Windsor Avenue who took a bad fall at the second last but got up ok this was a tight race on paper but the winned made it look easy in the end, ideally suited by much further Sam Brown is proper stayer as he showed first time out over fences at Lingfield, despite not holding any Cheltenham entries he probably would go for the Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree instead and go there a much fresher horse.
A decent enough afternoon of quality jump racing, the main star of the show being Sam Twiston-Davies who yet again showed his talent in the saddle.
That Haydock run in over hurdles can change the fortunes of a race many times over and today proved to be no exception.
Next up we return here all depending on things like the weather for the Grand National Trial, till then goodbye