SAM TWISTON-DAVIES underlined the sportsmanship and camaraderie of the jockeys’ room by rushing on to the track to become one of the first people to congratulate rider Leighton Apsell after his Crabbie’s Grand National win on Pineau De Re.
Naunton-based Twiston Davies, 21, had ridden Pineau De Re in six of his 10 races since the horse came over from Ireland to join the Worcestershire yard of Dr Richard Newland. Those included the horse’s two warm-ups before Aintree, a win at Exeter and a third at the Cheltenham Festival.
But seven-time champion trainer Paul Nicholls came calling and Twiston-Davies was tempted to switch to the top weight and classiest horse in the race Tidal Bay.
Nicholls has expressed the view that Twiston-Davies is a potential champion jockey in the post AP McCoy era – whenever that may be – prompting speculation of a more permanent tie-up with the jockey.
But Twiston Davies’ participation in this year’s race ended at the eighth fence when Tidal Bay could not avoid a faller and was himself brought down.
Sam was brought back to the finishing area in a car and was thus on hand to offer his sporting congratulations after Aspell had returned to salute the crowd. Twiston-Davies, who did post victories at Aintree this week on his father Nigel’s top hurdler The New One and Ballybolley, did admit to mixed emotions.
“It’s hard to see a horse you’ve ridden and worked with go and win like that,” he said.
“I’m delighted for Leighton and Dr Newland. He said to me a long time ago that he would win.”
There was Cotswold delight, however, among the placed horses as Alvarado, Fossebridge trainer Fergal O’Brien’s first runner in the race, stayed on strongly to take fourth at 33-1.
A thrilled O’Brien said: “It was a fantastic run and Paul (Maloney) has given him a great ride. I am over the moon with the horse.
“I thought he would run a good race if he got into a rhythm. The horse is very talented and he was fantastic today.
“He did come home so well, especially considering he hadn’t run for so long.
“I have been associated two National winners when I was with Nigel Twiston-Davies and this is a wonderful place.”