Nigel Twiston-Davies insists Bristol De Mai is amongst the best staying chasers in training when he’s at his best after the grey won a second Betfair Chase.
Saturday’s Haydock race was billed as a Gold Cup rematch between Native River and Might Bite, first and second at Cheltenham in March, but it was Bristol De Mai that led his rivals a merry dance from the front.
Having won in record-breaking style a year ago, the doubters suggested Bristol De Mai was merely a heavy ground specialist, but he prevailed with plenty of authority on decent ground this time, with Native River second and his Colin Tizzard-trained stablemate Thistlecrack in third as Might Bite faded to be last of five.
Bristol De Mai has yet to taste defeat over Haydock’s fences but his trainer suggests he’ll be just as good away from the Merseyside track, if he can be kept sound. The King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, a race in which he was sixth behind Might Bite last year, is next on the agenda.
“He’s one of the real top horses in the country and he grinds them down and wins by jumping well and galloping. He wins everywhere when he’s right. He’s difficult to keep right,” said Twiston-Davies.
“First and second time out last season he was superb, then he started getting his aches and pains and taking a few lame steps. Hopefully second time out this year will be at Kempton and we’ll give them a hard time there.”
Bristol De Mai is now 8.00 to win the King George, with Might Bite a 4.00 favourite in the wake of his Haydock collapse.