A well-known National Hunt trainer and a former jump jockey both celebrated their first Royal Ascot victories yesterday (16 June).
Willy Twiston-Davies, 21, won the Aintree Fox Hunters’ in 2011 as an amateur, before switching codes to the Flat. The son of Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning trainer Nigel bagged the impressive win at the Berkshire track aboard the Alan King-trained Primitivo in the King George V Handicap. They fended off second-placed Platitude by three-and-a-quarter lengths.
“Mr King is the most loyal trainer going. I ride there every Tuesday and people like him are the reason you get on in this world. I would never have a ride at Royal Ascot if it wasn’t for someone like him,” said Willy.
“I can’t believe it — all I can do is thank Alan King. I got off the horse at the beginning of the year due to other commitments but he let me get back on him. All the owners are so loyal and I am gobsmacked.
“Mum is here supporting and [brother and jump jockey] Sam and dad have been on to me all week. It is brilliant that I can finally deliver on the big stage.”
The three-year-old gelding also provided the Wiltshire-based trainer with his debut win at the prestigious meeting. Alan is most known for his successful National Hunt exploits, sending out winners including 2015 Hennessy Gold Cup victor Smad Place.
“It is really special. I adore Royal Ascot, I’ve been coming for the best part of 30 years but we don’t have many runners here. At no point did I believe I would have a winner at Royal Ascot but it means a lot,” said Alan. “It’s been a great ambition that I wanted to have a winner here and I just really can’t believe it.
“Some very big offers came in for him and the owners rejected those as they wanted to come to Royal Ascot. I thought they were mad but thank god they resisted. I don’t think he will ever be for sale now!” he added.
Sadly The Queen’s horse, Guy Fawkes, fell early on in the race and was put down due to a fractured off-fore cannon bone.