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Twiston-Davies in pole to get Grand National ride on Tidal Bay

| 18.03.2014

Gold Cup day at Cheltenham turned into a brutal one for jockeys as Ruby Walsh and Daryl Jacob both suffered broken bones in horrific falls. However, their woe could be to the benefit of one man as the Grand National approaches.

Despite completing the week injury-free, Sam Twiston-Davies’ luck at Prestbury Park was also out having failed to land a winner from 15 rides.

That wretched form was most notable in the Champion Hurdle when he was severely hampered on The New One by Our Conor’s ill-fated fall, only to make up significant ground to finish third as the furlongs ran out.

The jockey could be set for a morale-boosting end to his jumps season, though, as he moves to the head of the queue to get the leg-up on 16/1 Grand National second favourite Tidal Bay at Aintree.

Walsh was thought to have been favourite to get the ride on Paul Nicholls’ 13-year-old, although that was far from a certainty given his association to Willie Mullins.

As Nicholls’ retained rider Jacob was heir to the Tidal Bay throne, but having broken his knee and elbow in being thrown from the saddle by Port Melon at Cheltenham, won’t be seeing a saddle anytime soon.

Twiston-Davies was the last jockey to ride Tidal Bay to victory when beating Medinas by a length at Wetherby last November.

The pair followed that win up with a crushing defeat to Cue Card in the Betfair Chase but, having finished in the frame in his last two outings under Jacob and Walsh respectively, there is plenty of excitement over the gelding’s return to Aintree.

Teaforthree, who was a 21-length eighth to Lord Windermere in the Gold Cup, heads the betting for the Grand National at 10/1 with the trio of Long Run, Monbeg Dude and Triolo D’Alene following Tidal Bay in at 20s.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.