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'Strong' squad set for Festival
8:00pm Friday 1st March 2013 in Sport
OPTIMISTIC Cotswold trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies believes there is plenty of potential for success at next month’s Cheltenham Festival.
Young prospect The New One leads a promising squad in the the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle and, at 9-2 with William Hill, is his shortest-priced runner.
The 2010 Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander is joined by promising charges African Gold and Master Of The Sea among others.
Naunton handler Twiston- Davies said of his line-up: “It’s as strong as we’ve had for a bit.
“We’ve got the Commander coming back and some very nice novices.
“We haven’t got the money to go out and buy expensive horses and it’s nice we’ve got some to do the job. It’s hard work but more satisfying.”
The New One was sixth in Cheltenham’s Weatherbys Champion Bumper last year after an eye-catching start.
The five-year-old’s only defeat this season was on Festival Trials Day in January when behind At Fishers Cross.
However, Twiston-Davies said: “He’s obviously got a huge burst of speed and, in hindsight, probably we used it up a bit soon.
“The ground cannot be as horrible as it was and I hope he’s got a good chance.”
Five-year-old African Gold, only beaten once, heads for the Albert Bartlett on a five-timer and the same applies for Master Of The Sea in the Coral Cup.
Twiston-Davies added: “African Gold has done everything we have wanted — he has been absolutely superb this season and I hope in years to come he’ll be an Imperial Commander-type horse for us.”
Imperial Commander’s preparation for the Gold Cup continues with a racecourse gallop this week.
The 12-year-old has been dogged by injury since his prestigious success but was second in January’s Argento Chase.
Tour Des Champs, Imperial Leader, Same Difference, The Cockney Mackem, According To Trev, Pure Science and Pigeon Island are among other Twiston- Davies contenders at the Festival which begins on March 12.