Blaklion and Ryan Hatch cross the line to win the 2016 RSA Chase
PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
By Stuart Riley 10:41AM 23 OCT 2016
LAST season’s surprise RSA Chase winner Blaklion will take his first step in open company in Saturday’s Grade 2 bet365 Charlie Hall Chase, providing there is no firm in the going description.
As Nigel Twiston-Davies’s highest-rated chaser on Racing Post Ratings, Blaklion, a 33-1 shot for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, is one of a number of exciting young horses the trainer has ready to run.
“Blaklion’s ready for the Charlie Hall – if it’s proper decent good ground he’ll be going, if there’s any firm in it we’ll reconsider,” said Twiston-Davies, who could also run World Hurdle hope Ballyoptic in the Grade 2 bet365 West Yorkshire Hurdle.
“Ballyoptic also goes to Wetherby on Saturday. He ran well at Chepstow and he’s looking really good,” he said.
The New One needs rain
The New One, fourth in last season’s Champion Hurdle, goes novice chasing and connections are just waiting for some rain. “All the hurdle ranks look quite hot now, so it could give us another string to our bow,” said Twiston-Davies. “We’re waiting for rain before we get him out and he hasn’t done anything for a bit as it’s very dry, but he schools beautifully.”
Asked which of his talented youngsters he was most excited about, Twiston-Davies opted for last season’s Champion Bumper winner Ballyandy, who chased home the 2015 winner of that race Moon Racer on his hurdling debut at Perth last month. He too is waiting for some rain.
Ballyandy (near side) beats Battleford to win the 2016 Champion Bumper
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
“It’s lovely to have so many nice young horses but I’d probably say Ballyandy, you can’t split him and Ballyoptic. He’s ready for a run, we’re just waiting on the ground. He could go over two miles or two and a half, we’ll look at both. We’ll try and find a novice for him.”
Twiston-Davies also has festival aspirations for Wholestone, who won at Cheltenham on Saturday. He said: “I think he’s a very nice horse and hopefully he can build and build on this and the aim is to be back here for the Albert Bartlett.
“He’s got a bit of a way to go but we could come back here in three weeks time for another novice. I think he’s proper quality anyway.”