Ballyandy lands the Betfair Hurdle

Ballyandy pulls clear at Newbury
Ballyandy pulls clear at Newbury

Ballyandy justified strong support as he landed a gamble in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday.

Last year's Cheltenham Champion Bumper victor was winning for the first time over hurdles as he got the better of Movewiththetimes in a battle worthy of the £155,000 prize.

Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies thought Ballyandy was well-handicapped and plenty listened as the six-year-old was a successful 3-1 favourite.

Stablemate Ballyhill made the running with Clyne in close attendance while trainer's son Sam Twiston-Davies was content to stay off the pace until the straight.

Movewiththetimes (6-1) laid down a strong challenge but Ballyandy was equal to the task and asserted close home to strike by three-quarters of a length.

Clyne (6-1) with six lengths away third with Song Light (14-1) a further two lengths back in fourth.

Twiston-Davies senior told ITV Racing: "It's lovely when a plan works out. He's been unlucky and hasn't won any of the races we thought he would. What a consolation!

"He'll go to Cheltenham now for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle."

It was a great day for the family as Twiston-Davies' other jockey son Willie, rode the stable's Flying Angel to victory in the Kingmaker Novices' Chase at Warwick.

His brother Sam said: "It worked out great. Nigel's horses have been in tremendous form and this fella has done very well.

"Willie has done a great job at Warwick.

"This race went really well. I had a smooth passage. He didn't jump as well as I might have liked down the back, but in the straight he came alive.

"I got there sooner than I would have liked, but with his cruising speed it just happened and he has a good turn of foot."

The winning trainer went on: "I was gutted he was beaten the three times before. We were not hiding anything under a bush, he was unlucky to get beaten.

"It was the first time ever the handicapper had given us a bit of a chance. We are delighted with that but the one I thought would win (Bristol De Mai) didn't."

On reflection, Twiston-Davies will also consider the Neptune at Cheltenham for Ballyandy.

"He could go for the Supreme now, but at the moment he is also in the two-and-a-half-mile race as well," he said.

"If it is good ground he does stay, so it maybe he goes for the two-and-a-half-mile race.

"We could not understand him getting beaten in those first three races, there were no real excuses. He has always been a superstar, as we know from Cheltenham.

"The strong pace helped. The world is his oyster at the moment."

Paddy Power cut Ballyandy to 8-1 from 16s for both races.

Paul Nicholls said of runner-up Movewiththetimes: "He will be some chaser. He is still a bit babyish, but has run a nice race and there are no excuses.

"He was just a bit green as that was his only fourth start over hurdles and he has never been off the bridle before.

"He is just a really nice horse. He is in the Supreme and the Neptune. We will see what the owner wants."