Cheltenham’s Top Trainers – Schooling Champions
While trainer Nicky Henderson seemed a sure and almost untouchable candidate for the title of top trainer at the Cheltenham Festival, he was faced with stiff competition when Nigel Twiston-Davies celebrated an astonishing three wins on the last day of the meeting. In the end it was the four second places won by his charges that gave Henderson the edge over Twiston Davies.
During the four days of the Festival both trainers recorded three first placings: Henderson trained winners Binocular, Soldatino and Spirit River; Twiston-Davies’ first places were achieved by Pigeon Island, Baby Run and Imperial Commander. Extraordinarily, all of Twiston-Davies’ wins occurred in the last few hours on the last day of the Festival and included the coveted Gold Cup. The second places fell to Henderson stable-mates Burton Port, Carole’s Legacy, French Opera and Radium; whereas Khyber Kim was the only Twiston-Davies-trained contender to win a second place.
The triple winning trainers were closely followed by Paul Nicholls, David Pipe, Donald McCain, Willie Mullins and Philip Hobbs; who had two winners each amongst their charges. Nicholls trained winners Big Buck’s and Sanctuaire; Pipe celebrated the wins of Buena Vista and Great Endeavour; Peddlers Cross and Ballabriggs ran to victory for McCain; Mullins watched his charges Thousand Stars and Quevega cross the line first; and Menorah and Copper Bleu managed to snatch two trophies for Hobbs.