Sam Twiston-Davies excited by prospect of Rocky Creek National ride

Sam Twiston-Davies is excited by the prospect of riding Rocky Creek in the Crabbie’s Grand National following his victory under a big weight at Kempton on Saturday.

The Paul Nicholls-trained nine-year-old defied weight of 11st 11lb in the BetBright Chase in some style as he bounded home by six lengths from Le Reve in the valuable handicap chase.

Twiston-Davies feels Rocky Creek can now improve on his fifth in the National last year when partnered by Noel Fehily.

“To jump and travel the way he did on Saturday was great to see. He’s got his National weight and luckily it can’t be changed,” the jockey said.

“He ran a blinder in the race last year. He jumped really well that day and what was nice was he nearly jumped the last in front.

“This year he’s been trained for the race whereas last year the Gold Cup was a bit more his aim. He seems in great form and has come out of it well.

“He’s got 11st 3lb at the minute. If the top weights come out he’ll get a little bit more.

“Even so he’s a big horse and is well able to carry the weight. It was a pretty good performance on Saturday.”

There was no such confidence-boost for another National contender in action on Saturday as Wyck Hill got no further than the sixth fence in his bid to win the Betfred Eider Chase for the second successive year.

David Bridgwater reported the 11-year-old, owned by JP McManus, to have sustained a cut and to be sore for the experience.

“He was very sore on Sunday morning. The problem was they went off really quickly and I think he was just out of his comfort zone,” said Bridgwater.

“In hindsight we should have just let him drift back in the field and let the race come back to him.

“We sort of chased it and came unstuck. It’s a horse race at the end of the day. He’s got a cut on his head. It looks like he’s had a right good kicking.”

Meanwhile, Daryl Jacob believes Reve De Sivola has more than an outsider’s chance in the World Hurdle.

The jump jockey feels bookmakers are underestimating the triple Long Walk Hurdle winner by quoting him at a top-priced 25-1 for the three-mile championship at Cheltenham.

The Nick Williams-trained 10-year-old has finished fourth and eighth of the last two runnings of the World Hurdle and ran a fine race when only going down by a neck, conceding 4lb, to Saphir De Rheu in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham last month.

“I’m looking forward to him. I can’t believe he’s a 25-1 chance,” Jacob said.

“I know people say he hasn’t got the best course record round Cheltenham, but you can’t crab his form the last time when he was wrong at the weights with Saphir De Rheu and he’s only gone down by a neck.

“That’s a very good race and good form. He’s more like a fourth or fifth favourite and that’s how I’ll be going there with that sort of confidence in him.”

Fledgling trainer Robert Stephens does not expect the demanding Cheltenham track to trouble Beltor following his stunning display at Kempton on Saturday.

The four-year-old son of Authorized, formerly trained by Mark Prescott on the Flat, made a fine start to his jumping career at Ludlow at the end of January and took a step up to Grade Two company in his stride with a brilliant performance in the Adonis Hurdle over the weekend.

That impressive victory has propelled him to prominence in the ante-post betting for the Triumph Hurdle and he is likely to take his chance providing he pleases Stephens when he returns to full work.

“He’s come out of the race well. He’s eaten up and trotted sound, so we’re delighted with him,” Stephens said.

“We were hopeful going into the race on Saturday, but to see Tom (O’Brien) still on the bridle going to the second last was nice. It was very exciting.

“The Triumph is looking likely, but we’ll just see how he is in the next week or so before we make a final decision.

“Until you go to Cheltenham you never know for sure if they’ll handle it, but Tom is confident he’ll be fine.

“Going the other way round (left-handed) definitely won’t be a problem and hopefully he’ll handle the track.

“He’s a tough horse and the faster pace he’ll get in the Triumph will definitely suit him.

“Nicky Henderson has a couple in there that will be hard to beat, but our horse definitely deserves his place in the race and to be going to Cheltenham with a horse that’s as short as 8-1 for a race like the Triumph Hurdle is fantastic.”

Beltor will not be the second-season trainer’s only representative at Prestbury Park, with Modus set to line up in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper for the second year in succession.

The five-year-old was eighth in last year’s renewal and although he has not been seen since finishing down the field at Aintree last April, Stephens is delighted with how he is training.

He said: “He’ll go for the bumper again, all being well, and I think he’s a bit of a forgotten horse.

“He was only beaten just over 10 lengths last year as a four-year-old and he was caught wide and out the back for most of the way. He’s a better horse now.”

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox