Twiston-Davies leads cheers for Gillespie after Showcase success
NIGEL Twiston-Davies hailed Edward Gillespie for making Cheltenham Racecourse "the place it is today" after winning the race named in his honour on the second day of the Showcase meeting.
The Guiting Power trainer followed up his two wins on the first day of the meeting by landing the Edward Gillespie Hands Over The Reins Novices' Hurdle on Saturday with According To Trev, now unbeaten his past three races.
After the race, top trainers, including Gloucestershire's Jonjo O'Neill and Kim Bailey, joined well-wishers in a packed winner's enclosure to give Gillespie three cheers before the outgoing managing director of Prestbury Park handed the winner's trophy to Twiston-Davies.
"It's a smashing result, winning this race," said Twiston-Davies.
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"Edward has been such a friend over the years and he's made Cheltenham the place it is today.
"It's the most successful racecourse in the country, possibly even the world.
"There's no other racecourse like it and that's all down to Edward.
"Hopefully it will carry on just as successfully without him."
Gillespie, who officially leaves on November 2, took charge of the Showcase meeting jointly with the new boss of Prestbury Park Ian Renton.
Twiston-Davies said According To Trev's next race is likely to be at the Open meeting at Cheltenham on November 16 to 18 after his gutsy victory under the trainer's son Sam.
After leading on the home turn the six-year-old, who had previously won at Folkestone and Worcester, dug deep in the closing stages to beat Our Vinnie by a head in front of a 17,000-strong crowd.
Twiston-Davies said: "A lot of people said he couldn't win, but why not?
"He'd won his past two races and he'd won them well.
"Now it's three and I'm chuffed to bits.
"He was bought at the sales here for about £27,000, I think, so he didn't cost massive amounts of money, and he'll be worth more now."
Twiston-Davies warned it could be "quite tight" to get his 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander ready for the Betfair Chase at Haydock on November 24.
The 11-year-old hasn't raced since being pulled up in last year's Gold Cup.
Twiston-Davies said: "He's ticking along nicely and the Betfair Chase is the plan but it's five weeks away, which will be quite tight as he hasn't been back with us long."