Nigel Twiston-Davies ‘delighted’ as Festival hero Ballyandy eyes Cheltenham chasing victory

Gloucestershire-based trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies has reported stable star Ballyandy in ‘super’ form, following his hard-fought chasing debut win at Perth.

Despite initial plans of running in the Showcase, he was a surprise absentee from the early entries list. He was formerly thought to be targeted in the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Novices’ Chase (4:20).

A former Champion Bumper winner, the six-year-old enjoyed a strong campaign over hurdles last season where he won Newbury’s illustrious Betfair Hurdle before finishing fourth in the Supreme.

On his first run over fences, he jumped comfortably before battling off Stayers Hurdle second Fagan in a strong novice contest at Perth to win by a length.

“We were delighted with Ballyandy’s debut,” said the master of Grange Hill.

“He jumped really well and battled on well to win it, so we are happy with him.

“We’ve always thought he’d be a good chaser in the making, so we are quite excited for the season ahead.

“He’s come out looking super, and we could take him to the Showcase at Cheltenham.”

“Our options remain open.”

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Sam Twiston-Davies, son to Nigel, should ride Ballyandy on Saturday

Ballyandy has a number of targets for next year’s Festival, with bookmakers offering 25-1 for him in the Arkle and RSA Chase.

Twiston-Davies is well represented on the two-day Showcase card, despite Ballyandy missing out.

Ballymalin could be another big novice contender on the card for the yard. The seven-year-old won three times last season, before finishing seventh in the Cheltenham Festival.

Jabulani, One Forty Seven and Ballyhill could also be set for runs at the Showcase at the weekend.

Wholestone was his only winner across the two-day card last season.

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