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Greatwood gains for Twiston-Davies with I Like To Move It

Nigel Twiston-Davies’ I Like To Move It continued his love affair with Cheltenham’s old course when carrying top-weight to victory in the Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Twice a winner over this course and distance last autumn, he won the Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle on this card 12 months ago and was always to the fore on this occasion in the hands of Sam Twiston-Davies.

Only five flights of hurdles were jumped throughout the two-mile handicap with low sun signalling the removal of the timber in the home straight and it was the winner and the Paul Nicholls-trained Sonigino who led them along in the early stages that were devoid of any jumping tests.

The hurdling began down the back where I Like To Move It continued to dictate the pace and the five-year-old was still galloping strongly when 4-1 favourite Gin Coco moved stealthily into contention approaching what would be the final flight.

The duo pulled clear as the lung-busting run up the Cheltenham hill ensued, but the locally-trained winner soon edged ahead and was always in command in the closing stages as he landed the £100,000 feature.

Twiston-Davies said: “Absolutely superb – 12 stone round there. Taking the hurdles out didn’t help him. He was awesome.

“Sam was very positive on him. He would definitely like softer ground and he definitely stays the two miles very well. He was unlucky in the Betfair. He is a proper horse.

“The International Hurdle here (is next) – he is following the footsteps of a very good horse we had, Garden Dreams. The New One used to frequent this race. It looks quite busy, the Champion Hurdle, but that is the idea at the moment. I’ve never been afraid of anything.

“His jumping is always good, but there wasn’t much of it today. It was absolutely fine. He is a chaser in the making and he jumps really well – he is not a hurdler.

“It is no mean feat (to carry the weight), but he has that weight because he is the best horse, so I was never too worried about the weight, it was just I preferred softer ground.”

He ran down the field in the County Hurdle last season, and Twiston-Davies added: “He is only five and biologically, he was only just four. He was a late foal and it was one race too many for him last season and he’s come back better and stronger this season.

“You worry about the ground. We had three that ran the first day and they came back absolutely fine. They watered again. Of course it is a worry. Statistically you are more likely to do damage on faster ground but it wasn’t fast – it was good. Even then, if it has a bit of soft in it, statistically you are safer.

“He is very much in the bracket of The New One. Let’s hope he can be better if he keeps improving, but it is a hell of an ask, isn’t it?”

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