“He’s so photogenic,” exclaimed one female admirer as he posed at father Nigel’s Cotswold yard in a line of trendy new gear alongside some of the more notable inmates, including Grand National hope Blaklion, the mount of Cheltenham Festival Star Noel Fehily.
“I can’t believe they would want to use a little known jump jockey like me as an ambassador for their new ‘Small’ menswear range,” said the 24-year-old, who will be riding Saphir Du Rheu for Champion trainer Paul Nicholls in the National.
So when the 24-year-old turns up at Aintree today, in stylish new Jacamo trousers, shirt and jacket, he hopes that Saphir Du Rheu will also prove tailor-made for the big race challenge.
Twiston-Davies is better known for his stylish riding. Considering the hard act he had to follow as Nicholls’ stable jockey – legendary Ruby Walsh – he’s done brilliantly to notch four consecutive centuries.
“Ruby was with Paul for years and set an incredibly high standard,” he said, “so it was important to go in open minded and improve in every aspect I could. Every ride, every mistake I make I try and learn from them and move forward.
Sam Twiston-Davies has become a part-time professional model
“But as a team we are strong. Obviously the yard is in a transitional period at the minute with new horses and, hopefully, some more Grade One horses coming through the door.
“It’s a question of keep on working hard and see what can be done.
”We are all going to have to ride as many winners as possible this month to help Paul retain his Champion Trainer title.
“When I was young I liked to watch every jockey and pick bits out about what you like in them.
“You never stop learning from Noel Fehily, who is never in the wrong place. He’s tactically brilliant.
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Rock The World won the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual
“The likes of Richard Johnson and AP McCoy are just so strong in the saddle. And from a personal point of view, there’s Carl Llewellyn who’s looked after me for years. If I do give one a bad ride, he’s the first one I call and he talks me through it. He did win two Grand Nationals!
“The first time I rode in it, I walked the course with Carl and the stories he told were phenomenal and made you feel that one day it could happen to you too.”
With father Nigel having won two Nationals, and younger brother Willie having won a Foxhunters on Baby Run, Twiston-Davies admits that Aintree is “massive” factor in their lives.
The yard’s first winner was Earth Summit, but it was the handsome 2002 hero Bindaree that has had the biggest impact.
“He’s probably the reason why we are still here talking about the National,” admits Sam.
Sam Twiston-Davies will ride Saphir Du Rheu in the Grand National
“Dad had talked about retiring from the game. The business had become really tough and winning the National is what kept him going.
“It was so big and he’s been responsible for so many good times since. Bindaree’s still out in the front field now, along with Hello Bud, who’s my all-time favourite. “I won the Becher Chase twice on him and finished fifth on him in my first National in 2010. He will be part of this place forever.”
Aintree also seems to suit Saphir Du Rheu, who won his Grade One chase at the track over the Mildmay fences.
“Before the National, it’s a different atmosphere from any other race. Everyone goes out there together knowing it’s a tough game. No-one wants to wipe each other out and you need to communicate. All the boys are brilliant – solid riders and good people.
“There are 40 of you and everyone gathers round the TV afterwards and they all have their own little story. That’s what I love about the race and you can’t beat it.”