Resurgent Ollie Magern back on beat at Wetherby

Nigel Twiston-Davies once earned reknown for daring to give Des Lynam the brush-off after winning a Grand National."I don't do interviews," he said then. But yesterday at Wetherbythe words came tumbling unbid-den from the Gloucestershire trainer after Ollie Magern, a horse clearly with a special place in his heart, won the Charlie Hall Chase for the second time.

It was the nine-year-old's 12th career victory, though his first since taking the Yorkshire track's feature two years ago, and inthe interim he had run onlyeight times. He has a Mercedesengine but a banger's bodywork, but if the gelding's physical vicissitudes have tested Twiston-Davies's skills over the years, his attitude has earned admiration. "He's so unsound, but so tough," he said. "If we can keep him right, he can do anything, but it's so hard to keep him right. But he's so brave, and loves everything he does in life.

"As a young horse in his novice days he used to lie down in his box for two days every time he ran and we wondered if we were wrong racing him. But he comes back fighting every time, and if he resented it he wouldn't try. He gives it all, keeps nothing for himself. He has such a big heart."

In fact, hearts were the theme at Wetherby; Ollie Magern and his rider, Paddy Brennan, threw theirs together over every fence, then jumped after them, as they blazed a stirring trail in the winter sunshine. And State Of Play, the 15-8 favourite, showed his is thoroughly intact as he answered Tony McCoy's every call in his gallant but unavailing chase down the straight. Giving away 6lb, last year's Hennessy Gold Cup winner was only a length and a half adrift at the finish.

Ollie Magern may turn out against Kauto Star in the Betfair Chase in 20 days' time at Haydock where, 12 months ago, he was upsides the champ at the last before fading.

Twiston-Davies's 28 per cent strike rate is a fine testament to the new partnership between the trainer and Brennan. Yesterday was the first time Brennan had ridden Ollie Magern in public; for advice about howto do it he contacted the man in the Wetherby saddle last time, Carl Llewellyn.

"What he told me would happen, did happen," he said. "Ijust kept the revs up. But never mind the jockeys, this was sometraining performance."

The redoubtable Ollie Magern is what he is, but at the age of six Taranis could yet be anything, and yesterday at Down Royal the Paul Nicholls-trained chestnut took another step up the ladder by winning the James Nicholson Chase, his first try over three miles. The victory was not straightforward, for Ruby Walsh had to force the pace. "I wanted a true gallop so I had to go about it myself," the rider said. "It was hard work in front, he's much better with a lead. It's not the right way to ride him but we got away with it."

Walsh earned his fee with a vengeance when Taranis tried to duck out at the second last, but once back on an even keel with concentration restored, he beat Justified five lengths and is now 7-1 for Boxing Day's King George VI Chase.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Sheeran arrives at the 56th annual Grammy Awards earlier this year
musicYes, that would be Ed Sheeran, according to the BBC
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily World Cup Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Bid Manager, London

£45000 - £60000 per annum: Charter Selection: Charter Selection are working wi...

Marketing Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Charter Selection: Charter Selection are working wi...

Java Swing Developer - Hounslow - £33K to £45K

£33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...

Pen Tester / Penentration Tester

£35000 - £55000 per annum + BONUS + BENS: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Penet...

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor