Ballyandy (right) jumps the last with Movewiththetimes
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Bruce Jackson 1:06PM 11 FEB 2017
Report: Newbury, Saturday
Betfair Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m69yd, 4yo+
BALLYANDY won a titanic duel with Movewiththetimes after they turned the usually competitive handicap hurdle into a match halfway up the home straight.
Last year’s Weatherbys Champion Bumper winner had left his trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies deflated after being beaten in his first three hurdle races, albeit twice by another champion bumper winner Moon Racer.
The Naunton trainer said: “We could not understand how he was beaten in his first three races as we thought he was a superstar from his bumper days and it takes a special sort of trainer to get him beat but I managed it!”
The six-year-old turned his handicap debut into a glorious celebration for his connections, aided and abetted by stablemate Ballyhill in the same ownership.
Ballyhill made sure there was no place to hide in the £155,000 feature hurdle, setting a ragged pace that resulted in Ballyandy arrival cantering on the stands’ side with Movewiththetimes.
They effortlessly went clear before the last and Sam Twiston-Davies got an immediate response after the flight to shake off the gallant Movewiththetimes.
Cheltenham betting reaction was swift despite Ballyandy having both the Supreme and Neptune Novices’ Hurdle entries.
His trainer added: “He will get an entry in the Coral Cup as well.”
Bookmakers generally halved his odds to 8-1 for both novice races but the winning rider’s immediate reaction was that the longer Neptune would play to Ballyandy’s strengths.
The trainer, winning his second Betfair Hurdle after Splash Of Ginge in 2014, added: “After that I think the world is his oyster as he can only go on from this race and I would like to think he will be a better horse next year as well.
“But what a race and we will savour winning this one before thinking about later in the season.”