Sam Twiston-Davies: Career Profile

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We continue our build-up to the 2016 Grand National with our high-profile jockey series, and today Russell Smith looks at the career so far of Sam Twiston-Davies...

"It made him the second leading rider at the Festival, and now he'll head to Aintree where he is set to partner the Nicholls-trained Wonderful Charm - a 50/1 chance with Betfair - in the National."

With his star in the ascendancy, Sam Twiston-Davies is eager for more big-race success with the Crabbie's Grand National top of his wish list.

Approaching the end of his second season as stable jockey to champion trainer and Betfair Ambassador Paul Nicholls, the 23-year-old clocked up his third successive century of winners by landing a double in the last two races on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival.

Ballyandy, trained by his father, Nigel, at the family base at Naunton, near Cheltenham, took him to the milestone after a last-gasp nose success in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper.

That pulsating victory came just 40 minutes after Twiston-Davies had captured the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle by a head on the Nicholls-trained Diego Du Charmil.

And he signed off the meeting with his third winner of the week when Solar Impulse sprang a 28/1 shock in the closing Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase for his boss.

It made him the second leading rider at the Festival, and now he'll head to Aintree where he is set to partner the Nicholls-trained Wonderful Charm - a 50/1 chance with Betfair - in the National.

With his preference for good ground, the eight-year-old gelding hasn't been seen on a racecourse since finishing second to Aachen at Cheltenham before Christmas.

But he goes well fresh, and Nicholls believes he could put up a bold display.

Twiston-Davies, who will be having his seventh National ride, is no stranger to success over the big fences.

He has twice landed the Becher Chase on Hello Bud in 2010 and 2012, with the latter victory being especially emotional as his mount, owned and trained by his father, was 14 and dug deep to hold off Join Together by a neck before heading into retirement.

It formed part of a memorable double for the jockey and trainer as Little Josh won the Grand Sefton Chase later on the card.

Twiston-Davies also rode Hello Bud in three Grand Nationals, with his best finish coming in his first crack at the race when he finished fifth in 2010 behind Don't Push It.

Hailing from a racing family, Twiston-Davies was born to ride.

It wasn't just his father who had an equine background as his mother, Cathy, was involved in eventing and point-to-pointing.

Baby Run gave him the first of his 18 winners as an amateur with victory in a Ludlow Hunter Chase in February 2009, before taking the Champion Hunters Chase at Punchestown.

Twiston-Davies also posted his first Cheltenham Festival winner aboard the front-running gelding in the 2010 Foxhunter Chase when just 17.

Turning professional, he was crowned champion conditional jockey in the 2010/11 season with 59 winners, before taking over from Paddy Brennan as stable jockey to his father.

They forged a successful partnership, notably with The New One, whose numerous victories included the 2013 Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Twiston-Davies's skills in the saddle had also caught the eye of Nicholls, though, and he snapped up the youngster for the 2014-15 season to be stable jockey at his Ditcheat yard in Somerset in place of Daryl Jacob.

He rode his first big-race winner for his new boss on Caid Du Berlais in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham, and set the seal on a successful season with a brace of winners at last year's Festival.

Aux Ptits Soins made a triumphant debut in this country in the Coral Cup, before Twiston-Davies posted his biggest triumph to date when Dodging Bullets took the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

He's ridden more than 600 winners now and there's surely plenty more to come.

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