Bristol De Mai out to catch Kauto Star in Betfair Chase at Haydock Park

Nigel Twiston-Davies has backed the “exceptional” Bristol De Mai to emulate Kauto Star by securing a record-equalling fourth victory in today’s Betfair Chase.

The one to beat: Bristol De Mai goes for a fourth win in the Betfair Chase at Haydock today. (Picture: Getty)

It is 10 years since Kauto Star brought the house down at Haydock for the fourth and final time, a feat which means the Paul Nicholls-trained superstar is immortalised in bronze on Merseyside.

Twiston-Davies is hoping his long-time stable star can earn similar recognition this weekend by adding to his previous triumphs in 2017, 2018 and 2020.

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He said: “Bristol De Mai is really special to us – he has been exceptional.

“We were lucky to have both him and The New One going great guns at the same time.

“Bristol hasn’t quite won the Gold Cup I always wanted, but he was third once and he’s doing OK.

“It would be just great to equal Kauto Star. He would be remembered forever and who knows, there may even be a race named after him.”

The flying grey has won five of his six starts at Haydock overall, his only defeat coming in this race when runner-up to Lostintranslation two years ago.

Bristol De Mai has been off the track since being pulled up in the Grand National in April and is not getting any younger at the age of 10, but Twiston-Davies is confident he is at the top of his game.

“He’s easy to get fit, that’s the beauty of it, and we’re all primed and ready to go,” said the Naunton-based trainer.

“There was one year where he was second and that year we really struggled with lameness problems and he didn’t quite get there 100 percent.

“We’re as happy as we’ve ever been with him fitness-wise.

“The race looks as hot as ever really, but the one thing he always has in his favour is that he’s so easy to get fit and I wonder whether they all will be as fit as he is – hopefully not.”

Conditions at Haydock will not be as testing as is usually the case at this time of year, but Twiston-Davies is unconcerned.

He said: “The track suits him and he’s won this race on good ground before (in 2018), so hopefully it won’t be a problem.

“It’s just a superb track, I love the track and it seems to suit our horses.

“Bristol likes to be able to boss races and there are two long straights and easy bends, so he can just get out there and do his stuff.”

Nicky Henderson and Nico de Boinville enjoyed an Ascot double as Captain Morgs and Tweed Skirt obliged to send the yard into a big weekend of racing in good form.

Captain Morgs capitalised on his course and distance form to take the two-mile Garden For All Seasons Handicap Hurdle as the 7-4 favourite, with De Boinville taking full advantage of the final-fence error made by Jonjo O’Neill’s runner-up Garry Clermont. As O’Neill’s bay jinked left at the last obstacle, Captain Morgs instantly surged forward to fill the gap and then kept on to triumph by three-quarters of a length.

“He’s been in very good form and we wanted to come back to two (miles),” said Henderson, whose Cesarewitch winner Buzz is favourite for the Coral Hurdle on day two of the Ascot meeting.

“A very strong run two like that, he finished well and he’s won it nicely.

“It was a great ride though, he’s crept round the inner there and he was in a bit of trouble turning in but he sat and waited and just let the horse pick himself up - and he did.”

Of his race-winning manoeuvre at the last, De Boinville said: “You can call it good fortune and a bit of luck.”