Twiston-Davies defies conditions to claim Stratford double
SAM Twiston-Davies was the man in form at Stratford on Saturday with a double, including the day’s big race, as the wind and rain of Storm Brian made it tough going for both horses and jockeys, writes David Hucker.
With top-weight BristolDe Mai and Sametegal both withdrawn, the feature £25,000 totepool Live Info Download The App Handicap Chase was reduced to six runners, but that didn’t detract from the excitement of the race where just a neck separated the first two home.
After Days Of Heaven had cut out the running, it looked as if Charlie Deutsch had made a winning move when taking Burtons Well to the front after the second-last fence but, in behind, odds-on favourite Romain De Senam, the most-tipped horse amongst national newspaper pundits, was making relentless progress and he got up on the run-in with Twiston-Davies to score for the second weekend running.
Kapricorne had gone off favourite on both his starts for Dan Skelton and punters backed him again to make it third time lucky in the totepool Racecourse Debit Card Betting Available Handicap Chase.
He never looked like winning, however, being pushed along by Ian Popham fully four fences from home as, up ahead, Agreement was boldly trying to make all the running.
He was challenged on both sides approaching the final fence by the two Tim Vaughan trained runners and, with Normandy King blundering away his chance, it was stable companion Tara Mac who prevailed at the end of the two and three-quarter mile trip to make it a double on the afternoon for jockey Twiston-Davies and bring up his 55 winner of the season.
Wilmcote trainer Olly Murphy ran two in the opening Placepot Quadpot Two Bets One Slip Selling Hurdle, with course winner Sky Of Stars preferred in the betting market.
It was his other runner Gold Class, however, who was prominent early, pulling his way to the front with Bryony Frost, only to pay the price for his over-eagerness, fading to finish fourth behind favourite Iniesta.
Now trained by Fergal O’Brien in the Cotswolds, Iniesta, who is well-bred by wonder sire Galileo, started his racing career in Ireland, but this was his first success in 13 starts in England.
Ridden by David Bass, he bravely saw off the challenge of Pershing, who looked a real threat turning out of the back straight, but couldn’t match the pace of the winner from the final flight.
With Castafiore having to be led to the start by jockey Jonathan Burke, there was a delay to the Totescoop6 Play Today Mares' Handicap Hurdle (Qualifier For The Challenger Mares' Hurdle Series Final) but, when the race got underway, it was confirmed front-runner Miss Night Owl who took the field along.
Alan King’s Giveaway Glance was still travelling well when falling three flights out in the race won by another runner Graceful Legend at Exeter and she looked to be bouncing back when challenging the leader at the final flight.
Despite having a fitness advantage from an outing on the Flat two weeks ago, she was run out of it after the last, however, as Miss Night Owl and Adrian Heskin dug deep to hold on by a short head.
Favourite Litterale Ci looked to have every chance as they turned for home, but couldn’t match the pace of her rivals, finishing fourth. She is in good hands and her turn shouldn’t be far away.
Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies and jockey Daryl Jacob, denied a winning opportunity by the withdrawal of Bristol De Mai in the big race, got on the scoresheet when course winner El Terremoto made all the running to take the £15,000 totepoolliveinfo.com For Racing Results Handicap Hurdle from market leader Capeland by seven lengths. A future over fences now beckons and, at the age of five, he should have a good career ahead of him.
Having been headed after the penultimate flight, Dr Des fought back to take the first division of the totepool Betting On All UK Racing "National Hunt" Maiden Hurdle and, in the second, Mr One More vindicated the decision of trainer Harry Fry to run him here rather than at Uttoxeter when out-gunning Summerville Boy, the pair finishing clear.
Champion amateur lady rider Page Fuller made it nine wins for the season as she chases a second title when Global Thrill jumped to the front at the final obstacle to land the closing Collect totepool Winnings At Betfred Shops Lady Riders' Handicap Hurdle.