Aintree fever is soon to take over the city as the infamous race-course opens its doors once more for a spectacular season of racing, on course to welcome well over 150,000 race-goers during the three days of fixtures.
The 169th Crabbie’s Grand National begins 7th April, ending with the world famous steeplechase commencing 9th April, boasting a huge jackpot of £1million.
Witnessing a few changes this season, the National will be pushing forward the start time of the race to 5.15pm, with hopes to generate an even larger global audience, exceeding the 600 million who tune in year in and year out.
As Grand National Ambassador for the third year running, Sam Twiston-Davies is undoubtedly the most successful young jockey in the UK, finishing fifth with Hello Bud on his first attempt of the chase at the tender age of 17 in 2010.
Stable Jockey for nine-time champion Jump Trainer Paul Nicholls, the 23-year old Mr Twiston-Davies enjoyed his best season yet during 2014/2015, with a total of 145 winners under his hat.
Now, the young jockey provides an insight to Signature’s Liverpool about the upcoming season at Aintree.
What are your personal aspirations for Aintree?
I love Aintree, I’m really looking forward to it. The National is a race any jockey in the world would love to win one day so we’ve just got to go there and give it our all.
Do you have any nerves before a big race?
I get nervous, but nerves are a good thing, it’s only because you want to win, I think that’s why you do get nervous, you want to win so badly that you run the race 100 times over in your head.
I think other riders are very similar, because one or two of the riders are going to fall so it’s almost like it keeps you grounded. The other person next to you could be going to hospital, it’s a real level for keeping the highs in perspective and that is the reason you do it so I think you have to deal with it and move on. As I’ve said, we’re very lucky to do what we do so we have to enjoy it as much as we can whilst we can.
What moments stick out in your career?
When I get asked this question I always try and say the same one. Riding Hello Bud to win the Beecher Chase at Aintree in 2010. I was 14 years old at the time and that just doesn’t happen very often, so that was a personal favourite of mine. I can never forget that day.
How do you relax?
I like a box of popcorn and watching a movie with the lads or tucking into my mum’s carbonara if I get the chance.
What are your hopes for the rest of the year?
I know it sounds a little bit bland but look it’s always being injury free and to ride as many winners as possible and keep the owners and trainers happy. Sure, the dream will be to win the Grand National but you know, it’s one of the hardest races in the country to win. I’ll have to give it a good go and try my best so but it is always tricky.
Did you see Sam come fifth with Hello Bud in 2010? Who are you betting on in the Grand National 2016? Let us know in the comments!