Nigel Twiston-Davies has been around the British racing scene for many years. Although there has never really been a time when he’s been seen as the best trainer in Britain, he’s undoubtedly been inside the top few for a number of years.
He’s got a big yard and fires out winners all over the week, not just at the big meetings, though, of course, he has had success on the big stage. Two Grand National victories and a Cheltenham Gold Cup headline his career, success that was well deserved for the English handler.
Born in May 1957, Twiston-Davies has passed the 1000 winner mark during his career as a trainer, which began back in 1981, while his first winner as a trainer came in 1982. His son, Sam Twiston-Davies, has proven himself to be a strong jockey and made a name for himself riding, and although they don’t always rely on each other, the pair have given the family a lot of success over the years with winners that have been trained and ridden by them.
Nigel Twiston-Davies Grand National Wins
- 2002 - Bindaree ridden by Jim Culloty
- 1998 - Earth Summit ridden by Carl Llewellyn
First Grand National Winner With Earth Summit
At the 11th time of asking, Nigel Twiston-Davies won his first Grand National, and the horse to give him that victory was Earth Summit. The win came in the 1998 Grand National, a race that will forever be remembered as the one that was ran after the bomb threat in 1997, not really because of the winner.
The race was a tough one, 37 went to post, and just six managed to finish the race. Earth Summit was well fancied on the day, well backed by punters and eventually went off as the 7/1 favourite. This was fully justified, despite many competitors being unable to complete, Earth Summit had no problems at all and came away from those who did finish to win the contest by 11 lengths.
The key to the race was heavy rain during the morning. Before the rain, Earth Summit was 10/1, and while still well fancied, the rain certainly aided his chances. He’d shown strong form on soft and heavy ground before this run, so the more rain, the better for him, and that indeed showed. Those who couldn’t perform in the tough conditions failed to finish, while Earth Summit relished what was put in front of him.
Carl Llewellyn took the ride aboard Earth Summit after regular jockey Tom Jenks was ruled out through injury. Unfortunately, the horse came home to a smaller than usual crowd due to the uncertainty from the bomb threat a year earlier, so the applause in the crowd wasn’t as big as it usually is, especially for a horse that was so well fancied in the betting.
As for Nigel Twiston-Davies, it was a case of having the right type of horse in the right Grand National. There’s no doubt Earth Summit had a chance before the rain, but when that came, it really enhanced his claims while also lessening the claims of some of the other runners around him in the betting. The rain gods were shining, and they gave Nigel Twiston-Davies his first Grand National victory.
Earth Summit returned a year later and ran respectably again without getting involved in the finish, he came eighth, and that would be the last attempt at the Grand National.
Second Grand National Winner With Bindaree
Few trainers get the chance to feel what it is like to have multiple winners in the biggest race in national hunt racing, but Nigel Twiston-Davies is one of those to get that feeling. Four years after the success of Earth Summit, Bindaree gave him his second Grand National winner, this time, Jim Culloty was the man on board for him.
While Twiston-Davies was lucky with the weather for Earth Summit, he had the best horse this time around and a little bit of in race luck to land the victory. At the first fence, nine horses were brought down, almost a quarter of the field, but Bindaree managed to escape the problems and get around safely.
At one point up the run-in, it didn’t look as though Bindaree would get up, but things changed dramatically in the closing stages as What’s Up Boys began to tire. With 75 yards left in the race, Twiston-Davies was looking at a second-placed finish, but the leader was struggling, and jockey Jim Culloty did not give up on Bindaree.
The pair came strong, and not only did they overturn the three-length deficit they had in the closing stage, but they came away to win by almost two lengths, showing how strongly they stayed and how tired the eventual second was. This was a great showing of determination, character and never giving up, both by Culloty and the horse, taking the race when they appeared to not have a chance of making up the ground.
After his success at the first attempt, Bindaree would be back a further three times to try and win the race again. His best shot came a year later when he finished sixth with a strong run. After that, he was brought down in 2004 and finished 11th in 2005, rounding off his Grand National career and going down as a horse good enough to win the race.
Famous Horses Trained By Nigel Twiston-Davies
Here are some of the bigger names trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies during his career.