SAM TWISTON-DAVIES continued his recent hot streak at Kelso yesterday as he landed the four-mile Persimmon Homes Scottish Borders National on Royale Knight.
Trained by Dr Richard Newland, the 6-1 Worcestershire raider led at the second last of 24 fences on his way to beating gallant long-time leader Scotswell by six lengths, with 85-40 favourite and top-weight Imperial Vic nine lengths back in third.
Newland, who struck at the Borders track with Royale Knight over 3m 2f in the spring, said: “We’ve had this race in mind for him for some time. He was getting outpaced over three miles, so I thought four miles would suit better. He’s been a sensational horse for us as he has now won seven races.”
Twiston-Davies, fresh from a double at Aintree 24 hours earlier, added: “I won on him here back in May and he won fairly easily that day as well. He’s a lovely horse to ride. Richard rang me up to make sure I was free to ride him and it’s a good piece of race planning. He has kept me busy during the summer and really helped kickstart my season.”
Donald McCain and Jason Maguire teamed up for a double with Kruzhlinin and Tonvadosa. The former shouldered 11st 12lb to victory in the John Wade Always Right Champion Chase and McCain said: “He’s won three from three here now and it’s great to win races at Kelso, as his owners live just down the road. He’s a horse that’s still improving and we will look at coming back here for the Premier Chase in March.”
The was a shock result in the opening Border Facilities Novices’ Hurdle as Henry Brooke steered Chris Grant’s 80-1 chance Tough Trade to victory. Owner David Armstrong admitted afterwards that he “hadn’t a penny on” the three-length winner.
At Sandown on Saturday, Sire De Grugy recorded a landmark Grade One success for the popular father-and-son combination of Gary and Jamie Moore and, in the process, gave some hope to Sprinter Sacre having at least a little competition this year.
At some stage, Moore’s chestnut will have to face the absent Sprinter Sacre, but he made the most of a golden opportunity in the BetVictor Tingle Creek Chase to thwart the staying-on Somersby by four lengths. The 7-4 joint-favourite had picked up the Celebration Chase over course and distance last April when still a novice and was a typically inexpensive purchase by the Moore family.
Sprinter Sacre could make his reappearance in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton over Christmas and Moore believes it would be his only chance of beating the National Hunt great.
He said: “I’m going to have to take him on at some point and I’d rather it was at Kempton. He won’t necessarily go to Cheltenham as I think he needs a more conventional track. For some people it’s the be all and end all, but not for me. I’d like to take him to France.”
Jamie Moore, more used to being in the shadows of top Flat jockey brother Ryan, said: “For me personally, it is my best achievement. There was a bit of pressure as we love him to pieces.”
Paul Nicholls sent out five winners across the country, with the biggest of a Daryl Jacob-ridden Esher treble coming through Hinterland (13-2), who beat Grandouet by a neck in the Racing Post Henry VIII Novices’ Chase.
Nicholls was also victorious with Rebel Rebellion over the National fences in the Betfred Grand Sefton Handicap Chase, a particularly noteworthy success for unheralded rider Ryan Mahon.
The main event at Aintree was the Betfred Becher Chase, won by the Philip Hobbs-trained Chance Du Roy, who denied the 13-year-old Baby Run a fairytale return after 949 days off the track.