Haydock is a happy hunting ground for Bristol De Mai
Haydock is a happy hunting ground for Bristol De Mai

Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies believes Bristol De Mai is in great shape ahead of defending his Betfair Chase title on Saturday.

The gelding is a three-time winner of the Haydock contest and is one of the best around over the three-mile mark. 

He won the race in 2017 and 2018 and did it again last year after falling short to Lostintranslation in 2019. 

He finished two lengths clear of Clan Des Obeaux to make it five wins from six around the Merseyside track. 

The 10-year-old then finished second at Sandown in the Grade Two Cotswold Chase before running the Grand National at Aintree in April. 

He pulled up at the 21st hurdle and has not raced since then — instead, he has been taking time out to get back ready for the jumps season. 

His first port of call will be the Betfair Chase on Saturday, where he will be expected to run strongly among other competitors. 

A Plus Tard the one to beat
A Plus Tard the one to beat

Currently, the favourite is Henry De Bromhead's Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up A Plus Tard, while Paul Nicholls' Next Destination, a previous winner at Punchestown in the top-level Novice Hurdle, is also likely to be in the mix.

But Twiston-Davies is bullish heading into the Grade One race and believes the grey is ready to win once more — equalling the record set by the great Kauto Star in 2011 in the process. 

He said: "He was here in the summer and he's been very happy.

"He's in great form, I couldn't be happier really. 

"He's easy to get fit, that's the beauty of him and we're all primed and ready to go. The one year we were second was the year we really struggled, he had lameness problems and he didn't get there quite 100 per cent." 

Twiston-Davies believes his charge will have an advantage when it comes to racing due to his levels of fitness. 

The Cheltenham handler also claims the Haydock track suits his horse to a tee. 

He added: "It looks as hot as ever but the one thing he always has in his favour is that he's an easy horse to get fit. Will they all be as fit as he is?

"He likes to be able to boss races and it's a very uncomplicated track, there are two long straights and easy bends — he can just get out there and do his stuff."

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