Cheltenham - At The Races

Nigel Twiston-Davies Stable Tour

    Naunton trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies makes the 12-mile trip to Prestbury Park with a string that is naturally headlined by festival standing dish The New One, who enters the unchartered territory of the Stayers’ Hurdle in 2018.
  • Friday 23 February 2018
  • Stable Tours

Nigel Twiston-Davies looks to explore different avenues with his evergreen stable star The New One when he steps up to three miles for the first time in the Grade 1 Sun Bet Stayers’ Hurdle on the Thursday of the Cheltenham Festival.

The New One will making his seventh appearance at the Festival having gained his only success in the 2013 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle but has won six times at Cheltenham in all and has been a prominent figure in the last four Champion Hurdles with his best placing being when finish third to Jezki in the 2014 renewal.

Twiston-Davies said: “The New One would have a good chance if he stays the trip. We are not going into the race confident about the trip but people are telling me that he will and that he will improve for the trip. If he does then who knows.”

Ballyoptic is probably the stable other main challenge for the festival when he takes his chance in the RSA Chase and his trainer was looking forward to trying to expand his 17 winners at the highlight of the National Hunt season.

Here, the Naunton trainer tells Tony Elves of about his runners at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.

Older Horses

Arthur's Gift (IRE)

Trainer Says:

The owners are keen on going for the Pertemps. I am not sure he would get in but he has done nothing wrong all season.

Video Form
14 Nov 2017:
25 Oct 2017:
3 Oct 2017:

Ballyhill (FR)

Trainer Says:

He was a winner over two and a half miles at Cheltenham and he is the sort of horse who could pop up and win a handicap. We will try for the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase and if it looked like he wasn’t going to get in that we would try the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate.

Video Form
14 Oct 2018:
31 Oct 2016:
3 Oct 2016:
17 Nov 2015:

Ballymalin (IRE)

Trainer Says:

The owners would like to have a runner at the festival but he is only rated 130 so he will be well outclassed in the National Hunt Chase. He was running well at Musselburgh until he fell and being by Presenting he should do better on better ground.

Video Form
17 Mar 2018:
29 Sep 2017:
21 Dec 2016:
15 Nov 2016:
9 Apr 2016:

Ballyoptic (IRE)

  • 8-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Old Vic - Lambourne Lace (Un Desperado)
  • Trained by: N A Twiston-Davies
  • Last Race: Ayr, 21 Apr 2018 16:05
  • Result: 2/29, held up, closed gradually from 20th, 3rd 2 out, went 2nd flat, stayed on, challenged towards finish, just denied
  • View full form
Trainer Says:

He has much the same profile as Blaklion when he won the RSA. You need a tough solid horse for that. It was a very good run at Wetherby last time. He did everything right having put in a disappointing run at Kempton and he came back with a vengeance. He must be my best chance of a winner along with The New One. In his early days he did well on good ground and Sam may possibly ride him.

Video Form
13 Oct 2017:
8 Oct 2016:
19 Mar 2016:
21 Feb 2016:
26 Dec 2015:

Bigbadjohn (IRE)

Trainer Says:

It was a nice performance at Kempton and we will definitely have a look at Cheltenham - we will look at the Ultima and the Kim Muir. We didn’t turn his form around it was just a case of running in a smaller race but he is a quality horse and he is not a definite but as definite as you can be at this stage.

Video Form
13 Oct 2018:
14 Oct 2017:
28 Jan 2017:
2 Oct 2016:
27 Apr 2016:

Calett Mad (FR)

Trainer Says:

He has two entries but I would have thought that he will go for the Albert Bartlett rather than the Pertemps. He was disappointing in heavy ground at Doncaster but he tried to make all and got worn out it and was well beaten. He will be held up again in the Albert Bartlett and that could transform him.

Video Form
27 Jan 2018:
26 Nov 2016:

Count Meribel

Trainer Says:

He ran over two miles and three at Ascot last time and they went slow and it turned into a bit of sprint at the end which caught him out a bit. He would go for the Albert Bartlett over three miles.

Video Form
16 Apr 2017:
2 Feb 2017:
2 Jan 2017:
15 Dec 2016:
14 Nov 2016:

Good Boy Bobby (IRE)

Trainer Says:

I am hoping he is another Ballyandy. I don’t know if he is definitely going as we have got to talk to the owners but the idea at the moment is to go. The form is good and he was very relaxed and nearly too relaxed at Newbury. He is always hooded to keep him quiet but we may take that off at the festival.

Video Form
6 Jan 2018:
8 Nov 2017:


Trainer Says:

He has done nothing wrong all season and we went back to two miles last time but it was too quick for him. He will go for the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase.

Video Form
21 Oct 2017:
28 Apr 2017:
9 Apr 2017:
4 Jan 2017:
12 Dec 2016:

Robinshill (IRE)

Trainer Says:

He is unlikely to go to the Arkle unless he doesn’t get in the Grand Annual but he is bound to get in that race. He may only have been winning around Ludlow but he didn’t get home over two miles and five at Ascot last time. He will be much better back over two miles and he should have a decent chance.

Video Form
2 Oct 2017:
21 Dec 2016:
16 Jun 2016:
21 Mar 2016:

The New One (IRE)

Trainer Says:

I am not confident about three miles for The New One in the Stayers’ Hurdle which is why we have hung on so long to try him over it. The plan is to ride him differently and we won’t be making the running and doing things like that. He’s won over two and a half miles quite a few times but has he been staying on at the end? I don’t really know. If you look at his races this season he’s probably the best he’s ever been. I think his race this season have been incredible and the handicapper thinks so too as The New One is still very highly rated. We had to have a go at the Champion Hurdle trials this season because they are so valuable and he has run well in all of them. He is a horse of a lifetime and it would be nice to win the Stayers’ Hurdle as it was so sad when the first Champion Hurdle was there for the taking and he was knocked out of it. The New One would have a good chance if he stays the trip and Sam (Twiston-Davies) has been keen for The New One to go over three miles for a long time. It won’t be Haydock ground at Cheltenham and unless Buveur D’Air does something funny we have made our minds up to try something different.

Video Form
21 Oct 2017:

Turning Gold

Trainer Says:

He won well at Haydock but I do think he needs heavy ground. The Fred Winter can be a wide-open race and if there is rain he could easily go there.

Video Form
8 Feb 2018:
15 Sep 2017:
12 Jul 2017:
6 Jul 2017:
19 May 2017:

Wholestone (IRE)

Trainer Says:

Wholestone has done it well all season and he likes Cheltenham. He just got slightly outstayed in that very heavy ground last time but it won’t be like that this time. I am sure he will get home this time and he is a lively outsider for the Stayers’ Hurdle.

Video Form
14 Oct 2017:
28 Nov 2015: