- On Course
- March 6, 2014
06th March 2014
Sam Twiston-Davies on the countdown to Aintree
I’m delighted to become the ambassador for the Aintree, Haydock Park and Carlisle Racecourses. The Jockey Club is a fantastic organisation and been at the heart of racing since 1750. There are three great racecourses in the north-west region, Haydock Park is one of the best racecourses in the country, Carlisle is one of the most picturesque, and Aintree is the home of the world famous Crabbie’s Grand National. So, I’m really looking forward to working with the team.
It’s a great time to start with The Crabbie’s Grand National fast approaching and only four weeks away. It will be the 167th running of the race and the start of the new sponsorship with Halewood-owned Crabbie’s – a local company who triumphed with Amberleigh House who won the Grand National in 2004, so exciting times for all concerned with The Crabbie’s Grand National.
In a rainy February, I was at Haydock Park Racecourse for The Betfred Grand National Trial. I want to congratulate the staff for doing a fantastic job in making sure the race went ahead even though the weather was so poor. As a jockey we really appreciate all the hard work that racecourses put into making these challenging days go ahead.
In terms of the racing, it was great to win the first race at Haydock Park on a lovely horse, Abracadabra Sivola, trained by Nick Williams. Nick is a great guy and trainer and certainly makes my job a lot easier. Unfortunately the winning streak didn’t continue and I was unseated from Red Rocco in the big race which was frustrating as I was looking good – but that’s jump racing for you!
As mentioned, The Crabbie’s Grand National is only four weeks away and we are all really looking forward to it. My first Grand National was when I was 17 years old and riding ‘Hello Bud’, it was an amazing experience that I will never forget. The Grand National is a fantastic global sporting event with more than 150,000 people expected and with world-class horses racing each day. The build up to the race is a really busy but exciting time for all jockeys and with hundreds of millions of people watching from around the world it is the one race that I certainly get nervous about!
In terms of the ones to watch for the race, I think Teaforthree has been impressive and will definitely be a player in four weeks time. He had a great race at Ascot recently and did really well in last year’s Grand National. We also need to watch out for the Irish horses throughout the three day meeting. Tidal Bay, who I have ridden this season is a worthy top weight and I’m planning on riding Same Difference who is in good form this season but needs good ground. He’s quick and jumps really well which I hope will see him handy as we cross the Melling Road second time around.
Next week is the Cheltenham Festival and I’m really looking forward to a few local preview nights coming up in local pubs in Cheltenham. The first is this Friday at the Golden Ball and the other is at the Hollow Bottom next week, it’s great to support the local area and I’m really looking forward to being part of the panel with other jockeys and trainers and to talk through the Cheltenham cards ahead of the festival.
I can’t wait to ride The New One in the Stan James Champion Hurdle and Big Bucks in The Ladbroke World Hurdle. Win lose or draw both will hopefully come on to Aintree. Other rides I am looking forward to are Splash Of Ginge in the Skybet Supreme Novices Hurdle, Kaylif Aramis in the Coral Cup and Double Ross in the Byrne Group Plate.
The month ahead is going to be really busy with racing but also very exciting, so I try to do other things in my spare time to take a break from thinking about racing 24/7. I’m really enjoy playing the X-Box with my brother and going to the cinema. I also enjoy following other sports such as football and I’m looking forward to coming back to the north-west as I’m a big Liverpool FC fan and would love to catch a game at Anfield when I’m in the area! Aintree week for The Crabbie’s Grand National is amazing and I love the City of Liverpool, so we all try to do the tourist thing and see the sites if we can.
As Aintree ambassador, I will also be taking over Aintree’s twitter (@aintreeinsider) for an hour to talk to racing and sports fans alike. I will do this over the next few weeks so keep checking out my twitter (@samtwiston) and Aintree Twitter (@aintreeinsider) for when this is going to be – I look forward to hearing from you.
Finally, I want to wish everyone a great time at The Crabbie’s Grand National Festival in April. Make sure you get your tickets quick as they are selling out fast so you don’t want to miss out. It’s one of the most famous races in the world and is the race that every jockey wants to win so I can’t wait.
Read Sam’s full blog at http://www.thecrabbiesgrandnational.co.uk/festival-overview/blog/