SAM TWISTON-DAVIES took a major step towards winning his first jump jockeys’ championship – though perhaps not until after the retirement of 19-time title winner AP McCoy – when he was appointed as stable jockey to the all-conquering Paul Nicholls yard this week.
Champion trainer Nicholls has revealed that 21-year-old Twiston-Davies, whom he has long admired, will take over as ‘number one jockey’ from Daryl Jacob.
Twiston-Davies will have the pick of the stable’s rides with the exception of King George VI Chase winner Silviniaco Conti, who will still be partnered by Noel Fehily.
The Naunton-based jockey will be able to have the best of both worlds next season, however, as he will continue his association with the Champion Hurdle candidate The New One, who is trained by his father Nigel, and will carry on riding for the family stable when available.
Grand National-winning jockey Jacob, who is currently sidelined after a fall at the Cheltenham Festival, was offered the job as No.2 at the Nicholls stables in Ditcheat, Somerset but has opted to turn freelance instead.
Having made his name riding for his father, Sam Twiston-Davies has partnered a number of high-profile horses for Nicholls in recent months, including Big Buck’s and Tidal Bay.
He has ridden a steadily increasing number of winners through his six-year career (2, 15, 59, 81, 87) and broke through the 100-winner barrier in the latest season which finished last Saturday when he ended on 115 winners.
"Owners and the team enjoy Sam's company and he is a very talented rider," said Nicholls. "It's an ideal situation for us at the right time."
Bookmakers Paddy Power make Sam 8-1 to be champion jumps jockey in the 2014/15 season, but he is as short as 4-6 with them to finish runner-up to McCoy. Paddy Power said: “Sam has been handed a brilliant opportunity by Paul Nicholls, but in my mind, Tony McCoy will be the champion until Tony McCoy chooses the time is right to retire.”