News broke last week that Sam Twiston-Davies has been given the green light to ride Big Buck's over Daryl Jacob at Cheltenham this year. A reported, "lack of enthusiasm" led Paul Nicholls to look elsewhere. Highs and lows for the Twiston-Davies yard as the elusive, Mad Moose was banned from racing by the BHA for at least 9 months. Lots of controversy surrounding the decision. I personally don't feel the ban is necessary. Sam, who has claimed victory on Mad Moose 7 times, perhaps feels a little hard done by; "It's sad he's got nine months off when a horse who takes steroids only gets seven months". A valid point on perhaps a more serious issue.
On Saturday, Royal Boy was the first of the day for Nicky Henderson. A P McCoy takes over from usual choice Barry Geraghty, who rode Josses Hill . The Henderson duo seen off Upazo & favourite, The Liquidator to do battle for 1st place. Roger Brookhouse's Liquidator is due to be looked over after winding up a disappointing 5th, undermining his ability & 11/8 price. Willie Mullins' Vautour went off at 1/4 & seemed to find an extra gear in the closing stages, however, Western Boy raised a challenge, forcing Paul Townend to grind it out on Vautour to get the win. Over at Warwick, Venetia Williams scored a double with Dare Me & Dungeness. Favourites Relax & Tidal Bay failed to materialise for Williams, both beaten by a Philip Hobbs ensemble in, Planet of sound & Uncle Jimmy.
Davie Russell led Irish Thistle to victory at Navan on Sunday. favourable, Mad Brian seemed to have things sewn up when unseating jockey, Keith Donoghue. An interesting one as 13 year old, Mick The Man came back from a four year layoff & ran a big race to secure third place at Navan.