Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies backs Bristol De Mai to rediscover his best form in the inaugural £150,000 Fleur De Lys Chase at Lingfield
- The grey failed to finish in the Grade One Betfair Chase at Haydock in November
- The 11-year-old was also pulled up when running in last season’s Grand National
- Twiston-Davies believes Winter Millions meeting could be perfect for the gelding
Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies says he is not worried that Bristol De Mai has been pulled up on his last two starts ahead of the 11-year-old lining up in Sunday’s inaugural £150,000 Fleur De Lys Chase at Lingfield.
The grey failed to finish behind A Plus Tard in the Grade One Betfair Chase — a race he has won three times — at Haydock in November and was also pulled up when running in last season’s Grand National.
But Twiston-Davies believes the 2m 6f chase at Lingfield’s new three-day Winter Millions meeting could be made to measure for the gelding who will be ridden by son Sam in the absence of injured regular Daryl Jacob.
Bristol De Mai (above) has been pulled up on his last two starts at Aintree and Haydock
The trainer said: ‘It should be a nice opportunity for him. Nothing went right for him at Haydock and the ground was a bit too quick for him. It is going to be very testing on Sunday.
‘He wasn’t going to win at Haydock so there was no point in carrying on but he is in good form and I have been encouraged by what I’ve seen.’
The Fleur De Lys Chase has attracted 13 entries. As well as Bristol De Mai they include four other Grade One winners — Drashel Dasher, Itchy Feet, Waiting Patiently and Fakir D’Oudairies from Joseph O’Brien’s Irish stable.
Meanwhile, Nicky Henderson, due to run Shishkin in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot and Jonbon in Haydock’s Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle on Saturday, has paid tribute to his jockey Jerry McGrath who has had to retire at the age of 31. McGrath, a two-time Cheltenham Festival winner, sustained injuries in a fall at Lingfield in January last year.
Henderson said: ‘We all feel desperately sorry for him. I know he wanted to go on for a bit longer. He is a wonderful horseman and such a team player.’