Twisty hoping for National hat-trick with Same Difference
Nigel Twiston-Davies is the leading trainer of Crabbie’s Grand National winners in recent times, and Same Difference is likely to be his sole representative in this year’s contest.
The Naunton-based handler has won the Aintree showpiece twice, courtesy of Earth Summit in 1998 and Bindaree in 2002.
In Same Difference he has a horse that has become well-treated from a handicapping perspective and signalled that he was coming back to form last time out when a staying on fifth of 23 to Spring Heeled in the 3m 2f Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival.
The eight-year-old has not won since landing that race at the Festival in 2013, where he showed tremendous guts to stay on dourly up the hill and beat Super Duty by a head off a mark of 137.
He then went on to finish a fine runner-up to Quentin Collonges in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown, where he led at the last until getting outpaced on the run-in to be beaten two lengths off a mark of 144.
The gelding is set to race off 141 at Aintree, just 4lb higher than when last successful, and that gives him a big shout at the weights if building on his latest effort.
Another plus is that he is yet to fall in 12 starts over fences, and the way he finishes off his races suggests that the 4m 4f trip should be within his compass.
The ground at Aintree also very rarely comes up soft, and that is another positive as he has not won on going any worse than good-to-soft.
His last run has also come within 55 days of the big race, and all of the last 23 winners have met that criteria.
The one slight negative is that just two eight-year-olds have won the race in the last 22 years, but that last of those to do so was Bindaree trained by his handler.
Same Difference is 33/1 with Coral to follow in his footsteps.
Twiston-Davies also has Tour Des Champs entered in the National, but that one is currently 71st on the list of 73 remaining entries for the race on Saturday, April 5th, and has no realistic chance of making the line-up.