It was another big Saturday to remember for trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies as he took the feature race of the day, the Grade 3 Betfair Hurdle, with his leading novice hurdler Ballyandy.
The six-year-old gelding, who had yet to win in three starts over hurdles, was held up in mid-division under regular pilot Sam Twiston-Davies.
His stable companion Ballyhill took the 16-runner field along with the fast improving Clyne tracking through in second.
As the race began in earnest into the home straight, Twiston-Davies appeared after the third last travelling well but was followed by the smooth going Movewiththetimes in the familiar J.P McManus silks.
The two moved on together after the second last and could barely be separated after the last. Yet Ballyandy forged ahead and kept on strongly under riding to take the £155,000 handicap by just under a length.
A first win in the two mile contest for the 24-year-old jockey, his mount was winning for the first time since landing the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival last year.
“It was really smooth had a nice passage didn’t jump as well as I might of liked down the back but in the straight he really came alive,” said Twiston-Davies.
“He landed there way too soon but with the cruising speed he has it just all happens, he does have a good turn of foot. We’ll see what the handicapper does he’ll have plenty of options and I suppose he’ll have entries in everything [at Cheltenham].”
With valuable wins across the card at Warwick, in both the Grade 2 Kingmaker Novices’ Chase and the Warwick Castle Handicap Chase, Twiston-Davies senior enjoyed a red-letter day.
He won the race three years ago with 33/1 shot Splash Of Ginge, partnered by the currently injured Ryan Hatch.
Twiston-Davies senior said: “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.”
Earlier in the afternoon, the Colin Tizzard-trained Native River notched his third straight win by landing the Grade 2 Betfair Denman Chase.
The Hennessy Gold Cup and Welsh National hero took his two rivals along from the outset in the hands of the deputising Aidan Coleman.
It’s lovely when a plan works out
He cranked up the pace into the home straight and although challenged on either side by Le Mercury and Bristol De Mai, kept finding and came clear after the last to win by just over three lengths.
Arkle favourite Altior made no mistake in his prep run for the Festival when running out an impressive winner of the Grade 2 Betfair Exchange Chase half-an-hour later.
Under the returning Nico de Boinville, the son of High Chaparral was never challenged and after a spectacular leap at the last came clear on the bridle to score by 13 lengths.