- The Real Whacker was said to be lame after the Paddy Power Gold Cup
- But his trainer Patrick Neville has got him back into fine form ahead of this week
- Sam Twiston-Davies hit back at his doubters ahead of the King George VI Chase
Sam Twiston-Davies is preparing for take-off and urged The Real Whacker’s doubters to remind themselves that any athlete can overcome a bad day.
The Real Whacker produced two of the most thrilling performances of 2024, when winning The Dipper Chase and The Browns Advisory Chase – both at Cheltenham – with bold, accurate jumping and brave front-running tactics.
He was well fancied for the Paddy Power Gold Cup on his seasonal reappearance but Twiston-Davies was forced to pull the gelding up three fences from home. His lacklustre performance had a reason, though, with a post-race examination by vets finding that he was lame.
Trainer Patrick Neville has since got the seven-year-old back in fine shape for The King George VI Chase – this will be The Real Whacker’s first run away from Cheltenham since January 2022 – and his jockey believes it would be folly to underestimate his chances.
‘I’m putting a line through his last run,’ said Twiston-Davies. ‘He had a slight overreach but, since then, Paddy has been really happy with him.
Sam Twiston-Davies has urged off The Real Whacker’s (pictured) doubters ahead of the The King George VI Chase
The Real Whacker claimed victory twice at Cheltenham this year, winning both the The Dipper Chase and The Browns Advisory Chase
‘He’s been working well, schooling well. If you discount his last run, he’d be considerably shorter in the betting – not the outsider.
‘Any professional can have an off day. There are occasions when it just doesn’t happen. He’s proven what he was capable of doing at Cheltenham last season.
‘Hopefully he can turn up in that kind of form once more and go well. We are lucky to be having a go.
‘He’s very versatile and doesn’t have to make the running but he has such a high cruising speed.
After vets had said he had gone lame earlier this year, Trainer Patrick Neville has got the seven-year-old back to fine shape ahead of the King George VI Chase
‘He jumps so well and can put a lot of other horses under pressure. That’s what he’s very good at.
‘This will be a different kettle of fish, in terms of the race, but we’ll give it our best.’
This race has fond memories for Twiston-Davies, who partnered Clan Des Obeaux to a wide-margin victory in 2019, and he said: ‘There are only six runners but all six deserve to be there. All six could win.
‘It’s a pleasure to ride in this race, never mind thinking of winning it. There will be different pressures on him but we will do our best.’