Sam Twiston-Davies was destined to be a jockey from the moment he came into the world. He was born on the 15th October 1992, with a father that was a Gold Cup winning trainer and a mother that was a keen point-to-pointer and eventer.
He first rode a horse as a young child and from then on it was just a matter of time before he followed his father’s footsteps into the world of horse racing. From an early age he showed natural horsemanship and a talent with bundles of potential.
He made an immediate impact in the sport at the tender age of 16 by riding ‘Baby Run’, trained by his father Nigel, to victory in the Irish Champion Hunter Chase at Punchestown. In his first season riding in the UK, 2008/09, he rode two winners from just 13 runs and showed signs of a brilliant future ahead.
The following season showed further promise when Twiston-Davies rode 15 winners in Great Britain, including the Foxhunter Chase aboard ‘Baby Run’ at the Cheltenham Festival. That victory was followed by his first Grand National, in which he guided ‘Hello Bud’ to a fifth place finish, before turning professional.
His first ride as a professional was a fourth place finish in the 2010 Scottish Grand National aboard ‘Razor Royale’ and his career went from strength to strength.
In 2010/11 he rode 59 winners and accumulated overall prize money of just over £500,000 as he was named champion conditional jockey for the season. The following season saw another improvement, with 81 winners. He also finished the Grand National for the second time in 2012, finishing seventh and in the money on the ageing 33/1 shot ‘Hello Bud’.
He landed his first Grade One as a professional in March 2013 when he rode ‘The New One’ to victory in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival.
That 2012/13 season was the first time he earned total prize money of over £1million in a season for the first time, finishing with 87 winners and win prizes of over £500,000.
Twiston-Davies reached a major milestone in 2013/14, when he rode over 100 winners in a season for the first time. He finished with 115 winners from 774 rides that season and exceeded £1.5million in total prize money.
November 2013 saw him ride his first winners for the yard of Paul Nicholls, winning at Wetherby before guiding the great ‘Tidal Bay’ to victory in the Grade Two West Yorkshire Hurdle at the same meeting. He was then made number one jockey for the 8-time champion trainer in April 2014. He got off to a brilliant start as the main rider at Manor Farm Stables by winning on ‘Pressies Girl’ a few weeks later.
He has played a pivotal role for Team Ditcheat and rode several winners in the past couple of years. Twiston-Davies is now the retained jockey for Nicholls and heads up a team including talented jockeys Nick Scholfield and Sean Bowen.
His most successful season to date has to be 2014/15, with 145 winners and total prize money of £2,474,495. This was also the first season that Twiston-Davies would exceed win prize money of over £1million. Last season, 2015/16, his successes dropped ever so slightly. He finished up with 128 winners and overall prize money of just under £2million.
At the time of writing this, Sam Twiston-Davies has ridden 638 winners over the jumps in Great Britain with a strike rate of just over 15%. He has had over 100 winners and 100 second place finishes in each of the last three seasons, making him a vital asset to everyone he rides for. His overall career prize money earnings are over £8million and he is still only 23 years old.
At the top level, ‘Ballyandy’ in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper in March this year was his seventh career Grade One win.
This season, although early days, he has ridden six winners from 28 runs at a strike rate of 21% and is booked on some winnable horses in the next few weeks.
Being the son of a great trainer would make people think Sam Twiston-Davies has had an easy ride to the top, but that isn’t the case. He has worked as hard as any other jockey to get to where he is today and has fully deserved his successes.
Hopefully with several years still ahead of him, a professional approach and huge amount of talent, he could go on to become one of the best jump jockeys the sport has ever seen.