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Cheltenham races: Ryan Hatch praises jockey Sam Twiston-Davies

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: December 11, 2013

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Sam Twiston-Davies has been hailed as a “brilliant” role model ahead of an important date for the jockey at the International meeting at Cheltenham.

Festival-winning rider Ryan Hatch said the 21-year-old set the standard for riders at Twiston-Davies’ dad Nigel’s Gold Cup and Grand National-winning stable in Guiting Power.

He believes Twiston-Davies, who is set to partner Champion Hurdle favourite The New One at Prestbury Park on Saturday, will be among a clutch of riders fighting out the jockeys’ championship when AP McCoy retires.

“Sam has been a big help to me,” said Hatch, 20, the number two rider at Grange Hill Farm.

“If I want to know what a horse is like, or how best to ride a particular horse, Sam’s the man to ask because he’s probably ridden it before.

“It’s the same if you’re going to a racecourse you’ve never been to before, he’ll always do his best to help.

“He actually got me on a horse (Alwaystheoptimist) for Phil Middleton in October.

“Sam had won it the week before and Mr Middleton was looking for 7lb to take off and Sam put my name up straightaway, which was good of him and it worked out well, because I won.

“He helps me ride more and ride more winners by introducing me to people and things like that, so he is just brilliant.

“He is an outstanding rider and you watch him and try and pick up as much as you can, and he’d be happy to help you in doing so.”

Hatch, who rode Sam Difference to victory at this year’s Festival, said the Twiston-Davies team were looking forward to seeing The New One return to action in the StanJames.com International Hurdle on Saturday.

The youngster has quickly established himself as one of the best hurdlers in Britain and Ireland and taken over the mantle as Twiston-Davies’ stable star from the now retired Gold Cup hero Imperial Commander.

Hatch said: “The New One is the favourite for the big hurdle race on Saturday and we’re looking forward to seeing if he can further his Champion Hurdle credentials.

“It’s good that as Imperial Commander has been retired, we’ve got a new stable star in The New One.

“Nigel doesn’t spend big money at the sales, but he pulls it out of the bag time and time again and produces these good horses.

“He’s not afraid to take anyone one and that’s a big part of his success, and when he goes to the races he knows what he’s got and he doesn’t get scared off by the opposition.”

The New One improved his record over hurdles to five wins from seven races after hammering 2012 Champion Hurdle winner Rock On Ruby last time out.

He will start the International Hurdle as hot favourite to win again, but even though he is the best two-mile hurdler Twiston-Davies has trained during his illustrious career, Hatch said The New One didn’t receive any preferential treatment at the yard .

“It’s quite strange because you see them every day and you don’t really think anything of it,” he said.

“Obviously you see up on the gallops and goes a bit faster and he has a bit of class about him, but at the end of the day they’re all owned by somebody and they’re all loved equally.”

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