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Sam Twiston-Davies set to partner Grand National top-weight Tidal Bay

| 19.03.2014

Trainer Paul Nicholls has revealed that Sam Twiston-Davies is in line to partner Tidal Bay in this year’s Crabbie’s Grand National, for which he is currently a 16/1 chance with Coral.

The 21-year-old has shot to the top of the list to partner the top weight following injuries to Ruby Walsh and Daryl Jacob.

He is the only jockey to have won aboard Tidal Bay in the past year, with the pair teaming up successfully in a hurdle race at Wetherby in October.

The horse has been given a huge chance by the handicapper in the National, despite being allotted top-weight of 11st 10lb.

The 4m 4f contest at Aintree on Saturday, April 5th, is the only race for which British Horseracing Authority Head of Handicapping Phil Smith specifically frames the weights.

He has given Tidal Bay a mark equating to a rating of 161, 7lb less than the horse’s official rating of 168.

That seems to be lenient, especially as the 13-year-old has looked as good as ever this season and finished second in the Grade 1 Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown last time out.

He does, however, have two major stats to overcome if he is to triumph in the race.

Only two horses aged 13 have won the race, Why Not in 1894 and Sergeant Murphy in 1923. The oldest horse to have ever won was 15-year-old Peyter Simple in 1853.

His welter burden of 11st 10lb is the other major concern.

No horse has carried more than 11st 8lb to victory since 1974. The mighty Red Rum won the raced for the second time off 12st in that year and went on to win it for a record third time off 11st 8lb in 1977.

Other possible starters for Nicholls, victorious in 2012 with Neptune Collonges, are Rocky Creek, Hawkes Point and There’s No Panic after they were among 73 left in the race at the latest forfeit stage.



David Metcalf

A lifelong Manchester United supporter, David has over 25 years’ experience in the media industry having worked for regional and national newspapers. He is a huge horse racing, football and greyhound fan and has done interviews on various radio and TV stations, including talkSPORT and Sky Sports, whilst working as a PR front man for a betting firm. David has also written for most of the top Premier League football fan websites, and produced a Cheltenham Festival guide with former eight-times champion national hunt jockey Peter Scudamore, MBE, after helping him to set up a syndicate for his trainer son Michael.