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I was looking at writing a separate Nigel Twiston-Davies stable tour article but then someone reminded me that unlike the others in attendance frantically scribbling away at speed, we can call Nigel any time we like (within reason),and will be speaking to him each and every day of the Festival itself so no need to feel as pressurised. Suffice to say that he still loves The New One who he says is as good as ever this season though he is still unclear whether he will or will not see out the three miles in the Stayers Hurdle. Sam has been keen to try him over a trip for some time now and finally gets his wish but he will need to be ridden very differently to get home with no more front running for the now ten-year-old, but it is not the strongest Stayers Hurdle ever seen with no real stand-out, and we can easily see why they have decided to give it a go. Wholestone also heads to the same contest and although filing to see out the trip last year that was on heavy going which seems to be unlikely to be repeated in 2018 and one better going I get the feeling he will run a really big race and possibly even finish ahead of his better known stable companion. Although Nigel may well have an even stronger team at Aintree with both Bristol De Mai and Blaklion, he still has a few with chances worthy of ante post consideration at the very least, with Ballyoptic on target for the RSA Chase after his recent win at Wetherby which was a welcome return to form, and at a big price he is certainly one to add to the Twiston-Davies shortlist. We can wait for the up to date ground dependent opponent related news come race day but I will add that he seems to have “woken up” Bigbadjohn after he arrived from the Rebecca Curtis stable. His one and only start for the stable saw him win at Kempton by a length and if the assessor isn’t too harsh on him for that effort, he could be interesting for one of the festival handicaps.
Nigel’s Charity Bet
As always, we’ve given Nigel a £25 charity bet to place on a horse of his choice – and this week it will be on……
Tintern Theatre 3.35pm Kempton Saturday
“He made a few too many jumping errors for my liking last time out before unseating at Haydock but he likes it here at Kempton and he won over this course and distance as recently as late December. Sam gets on particularly well with the seven-year-old and has ridden him to two of his three successes and although I am a little worried the going will be on the quick side for him, he is certainly working well at home and has a solid each way chance in this competitive and valuable race.”
If Tintern Theatre wins, we’ll donate the winnings to the Injured Jockeys Fund!
Kapgarry 5.20pm Chepstow
“I admit that I was struggling to give you your monies worth this weekend and even now we have to settle for the two suggestions but I do really like him and he showed plenty of ability when scoring at Tinahely in Ireland in a point to point last time out. I am still finding out about him as you would expect but he looks a really decent sort with a big future ahead of him and I am hoping of a big run this afternoon with a win or a place on the cards.”
Nigel Twiston-Davies will be back each and every week with his thoughts exclusively for myracing.com as well as every day over the major meetings! To see what our tipsters are backing in all the weekend’s races, check out our free daily horse racing tips!