With the 2018 Grand National only a matter of weeks away connections have confirmed that Sam Twiston-Davies will be on board the race favourite, Blaklion, for what looks like his best chance of winning the most coveted title in racing.
Trained by his father Nigel Twiston-Davies, Sam is employed by trainer Paul Nicholls but he has freed the jockey to ride Blaklion, a general 10-1 shot for the race on 14th April.
Paul Nicholls said “I mean, Blaklion’s favourite for the National, so of course I’m going to help him.
“When you’ve got a good team of jockeys you can all work together and it’s the only way to do it.
“To be honest, the only two that we’ll probably run will be Warrior’s Tale and As De Mee. Sean Bowen always rides both of those and I’ve got Harry Cobden as well.”
The decision appears to have been made prior to Blaklion’s run at Haydock in the Grand National Trial when Twiston-Davies was given the choice to go to Ascot and ride Frodon or go to Haydock and ride Zarkandar with the jockey opting for Haydock so he could ride Blaklion as well. But that he would only be able to do that if he could also commit to riding the horse at Aintree.
He was the 9/4 favourite for the Trial at Haydock on February 17th but was out run and out paced by the Venetia Williams trained Yala Enki. Running in very heavy ground clearly took it out of Blaklion who found himself out of contention coming to the last. He was clearly exhausted as he clambered over the final fence and ended up being beaten by 54 lengths though the trainer has insisted there is no ground for concern that his Aintree chance might be compromised.
When asked if the defeat would impact his chances at Aintree Nigel Twiston-Davies said “No, no, of course it won’t. It’s seven weeks.
“You get some of the cleverclogs, I see even some other trainers, going: ‘Oh, it’s bound to leave its mark.’ Why? A horse is beaten, they often get beaten. It doesn’t ruin it for next time.”
The Grand National Trial defeat didn’t put off any of his fans and the bookmakers seem even less concerned giving him ante-post odds of around 10/1 for the Grand National win.