Reports29 November 2023

'She was the only horse we could work with I Like To Move It' - novice excites Twiston-Davies team

Nigel Twiston-Davies's title chance has been given thumbs-up by Paul Nicholls
Nigel Twiston-Davies: has a smart talent in Casa No MentoCredit: Edward Whitaker (

Casa No Mento was said to be the only horse in the Nigel Twiston-Davies yard with the speed to match the ultra-talented I Like To Move It and she brought her exciting homework to the racecourse with a stylish 15-length victory in the 2m novice hurdle.

The five-year-old demonstrated a smart burst of acceleration to make it two out of two over hurdles under Finn Lambert. Bet365 cut her to 40-1 (from 50) for the Mares' Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham, a track where I Like To Move It won three races before he was fatally injured in October.

Casa No Mento was set to test her credentials against the Cheltenham Festival Grade 2’s ante-post second favourite Dysart Enos at Market Rasen a fortnight ago before scoping badly in the build-up, but connections are relishing the chance to take on the best in the coming months.

Willy Twiston-Davies, the trainer's son and assistant, said: "We think quite a lot of her – she was the only horse we were able to work with I Like To Move It. She's a very, very quick filly and we haven't got a workhorse like her.

"On good ground over two miles there wouldn't be too many horses I'd be scared of with her."

Taunton's Listed 2m½f mares' novice hurdle – won by future Cheltenham winner Marie's Rock in 2019 – is the initial main target for Casa No Mento, but she will have a prep run at Lingfield on December 11.

Twiston-Davies added: "I'm glad we've got her on good ground as she showed there she's got a hell of a turn of foot. Taunton at the end of December would be her big aim. 

"Cheltenham is always in the back of our minds but the main target is to win a Listed race and then whatever she does is a bonus. With the English mares I'd say she'd be up there with the best but you don't know how they compare with the Irish."

Drought ends

Ben Clarke hopes a first winner since May can kickstart his season as he plots attempts at major handicaps next month.

A 185-day wait for a victory was broken when Ooh Betty landed the 2m3½f mares’ handicap hurdle under Ben Jones, a welcome boost for the trainer before a shot at the Welsh Grand National with The Galloping Bear.

"It's been really slow, we were hoping to have nicked a few winners already this autumn," said Clarke. "Nothing's been wrong with the horses but there's just been some annoyances and frustrations. I'm happy with that."

The Galloping Bear could prep for Chepstow in a veterans' chase at Haydock next Wednesday, while Dr Kananga has had wind surgery since his midfield effort in the Kim Muir.

Clarke said: "Dr Kananga is well handicapped and is flying at home, I can't wait to see him out. The Welsh National is tailor-made for The Galloping Bear, we'll have a change of headgear and he's in cracking nick."

Smart prospect

Paul Nicholls enjoyed a fourth bumper win since Friday when Jackpot Des Bordes ran out an impressive winner in the finale under Harry Cobden. 

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