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Twiston-Davies’s Angel Flies Home

Nigel Twiston Davies’ Flying Angel (5/1) was a game winner of the first race of the 2017 Randox Health Grand National Festival, the G1 Manifesto Novices’ Chase.

Ridden by Noel Fehily, the six-year-old son of Arcadio stuck on resolutely in the closing stages to fend off the sustained challenge of Malcolm Jefferson’s Cloudy Dream (4/1), who finished a length behind the winner in second.

6/5 favourite Top Notch, who failed to jump with any real fluency, finished a further four and a half-lengths back in third.

Winning rider Fehily said: “He is a tough horse and he toughed it out very well from the back of the last.

“When Brian Hughes [rider of Cloudy Dream] came up to me between the last two I thought I was in a little bit of trouble but I knew that my fella wouldn’t stop.

“Nigel’s horses are fit, tough, they stay and they jump and I just wanted to make use of him.”

Fehily rode Flying Angel in the G1 JLT Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, where he finished sixth and the jockey believed he had learnt a lot from that race.

He continued: “I thought I was going ok at the top of the hill in the JLT but I got badly hampered and I almost nursed him home. I thought he was going to finish close that day and he has proved it today.”

Fehily partners Twiston-Davies’ Blaklion in the Randox Health Grand National on Saturday and he is hopeful of a big run from the progressive chaser.

He added: “I’m delighted to be riding him. I think he has a bit of class and he ran well behind Vieux Lion Rouge last time. That was good form and I’m very hopeful of a big run.

1.45pm Manifesto Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)

1 FLYING ANGEL (R J Rexton) Nigel Twiston-Davies 6-11-04 Noel Fehily 5/1
2 Cloudy Dream (Trevor Hemmings) Malcolm Jefferson 7-11-04 Brian Hughes 4/1
3 Top Notch (Simon Munir & Isaac Soude) Nicky Henderson 6-11-04 Daryl Jacob 6/5 Fav

Distances: 1, 4½
Tote Win: £5.60 Places: £2.30, £2.00 Exacta:£24.00