Bristol De Mai to bid for Premier prize as Twiston-Davies looks to Aintree

    Bristol De Mai will bid to get his season back on track in the Premier Chase at Kelso on Saturday week.
  • Thursday 22 February 2018
  • News

Bristol De Mai will bid to get his season back on track in the Premier Chase at Kelso on Saturday week.

After edging out stable companion Blaklion in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby in the autumn, the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained grey was a staggering 57-length winner of the Betfair Chase at Haydock.

Little has gone right for the seven-year-old since, however, and after disappointing runs in the King George VI Chase at Kempton and the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham, he is set to have his sights lowered before potentially returning to Grade One level at Aintree's Grand National meeting.

Twiston-Davies said: " He'll go to Kelso next weekend and then the Betway Bowl.

"The idea is to give him a nice run round and get a bit of confidence back into him again, having had two not-so-good runs, and then go on to Aintree.

"Hopefully the Gold Cup will be in the thinking next year. I'd imagine we'll start off in the Charlie Hall again and then go for the Betfair Chase and the King George.

"He just needs to be a bit more consistent to be a Gold Cup horse."

Like Bristol De Mai, Blaklion will sidestep the Cheltenham Festival this year and head to Aintree for a tilt at the Randox Health Grand National, in which he finished fourth last season.

He finished a well-beaten second in an attritional Grand National Trial at Haydock last weekend, but Twiston-Davies is confident he will bounce back in Merseyside.

"He's in good form and it was just a case of carrying a heavy weight on that ground catching him out at Haydock," the Naunton-based trainer added.

"He had a hard race before the Grand National last year and this year we've just been thinking about the National.

"In a way I would like to have a go at the Gold Cup, but he seems to have an outstanding chance in the National.

"He's come out of Haydock OK - he's 100 per cent.

"We've got seven weeks until Aintree and I think we've done the right thing (missing Cheltenham)."

One Twiston-Davies inmate who will not be seen on the racecourse this spring is Ballyandy.

Last year's Betfair Hurdle winner made a successful debut over fences at Perth in September, but was well beaten by Yanworth in the Dipper Novices' Chase at Cheltenham on New Year's Day and was pulled up in a novice handicap on his return to Prestbury Park late last month.

Twiston-Davies said: "We have had a few bone pain issues. We could have gone on with him, but it was a risk so we packed him up and he will be good for next season.

"The BetVictor Gold Cup would be his first main target. Off 140 he would have had a superb chance in the Close Brothers (Novices' Handicap Chase) at the Festival.

"He has done well for us and next season he should bounce back to his best."

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