Sam the man as Hereford reopens

A review of the action as racing returned to Hereford for the first time in four years on Thursday afternoon.

Jockey Sam Twiston-Davies was the man to follow at Hereford's grand reopening as the jockey secured an impressive treble on the card.

With the much-missed course staging National Hunt racing for the first time since December 2012, those who had followed Twiston-Davies blindly were in clover.

The jockey's biggest success came in the feature bet365.com Silver Salver Handicap Chase as Belmount (5/2 joint-favourite) kept up the gallop to win by two and a quarter lengths for Twiston-Davies' father, Nigel.

The winning trainer said: "It's superb to be back at the old stomping ground and it is great to win a race here.

"I trained my first two winners here as a trainer and rode them, though they were not my first as a jockey.

"It's lovely to be back and well done to ARC (Hereford's owners, Arena Racing Company) for putting it back on."

The Twiston-Davies family then combined to take the bet365 Handicap Chase with Little Pop (3/1 favourite).

"He's a funny horse," said the jockey.

"I've never called him anything nice in the past, but he's found his level now."

Sam Twiston-Davies set the ball rolling when Coillte Lass (4/6 favourite) ground out victory in the bet365.com Mares' 'National Hunt' Maiden Hurdle.

Trainer Paul Nicholls said: "It's brilliant to be back here. We had lots of winners here before and it is nice to have one straight away. I thought she would go well but she wants further and slower ground but it is a nice starting point."

Rather Be got punters off to a flying start when he obliged as the 1/2 favourite in the opening race, the bet365/British Stallion Studs EBF "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle.

Trainer Nicky Henderson said: "It's great to be back and well done to everyone involved.

"It's always been a fair track. To come here and see a crowd like this shows what can be achieved."

Henderson is already toying with the idea of stepping hurdling debutant Rather Be, who competed in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham last season, up in distance.

The Seven Barrows handler added: "He jumped really well and should get two and a half miles."

Emerging Force (even-money favourite) began his fencing career with a smooth success in the bet365 Beginners' Chase.

Harry Whittington's six-year-old impressed the further he went and gradually put the opposition to the sword.

Whittington said: "I'd be surprised if he didn't end up a 10lb better chaser than hurdler.

"That would put him in the mix for the RSA maybe or the National Hunt (Chase)."

Dai Burchell's Furiously Fast (4/1) was very willing and very able in the bet365 Handicap Hurdle, while Some Kinda Lama (4/11 favourite) won the concluding bet365 Maiden Hurdle for Charlie Mann and Noel Fehily.

Read More at Sporting Life

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