Cheltenham news: Sam Twiston-Davies backs decision to stick with four-day Festival

Sam Twiston-Davies has welcomed the decision from the Jockey Club to keep the Cheltenham Festival at four days, rather than extend to five.

A senior voice in the weighing room, the seven-time Festival-winning rider said the majority of his colleagues were very happy with the decision to keep the status quo. 

Twiston-Davies, who won the Queen Mother Champion Chase with Dodging Bullets in 2015, recorded three winners at the meeting the following year, but has not ridden a Festival winner since.

However, he is adamant that adding a further day to the meeting would be to its detriment.

He said: "There are a lot of people, certainly the majority in the weighing room, who are quite happy at the four (days).

"It seems to work well and we don't want to dilute the racing too much, because at the end of the day it is something that works really well.

"As you know, I have had a drought for goodness knows how many years now. It shows how hard it is to ride a winner and it makes it all the more special when you do.

"That is very much the feeling in the weighing room, as it is incredibly tough to ride winners and it is incredibly tough to even get rides, to tell the truth.

"So if you are turning it from four to five days, it takes away from what makes it so fantastic, not just for the crowds, but also because the competition is so strong, which is what makes it great."

Ian Renton, managing director of the Jockey Club's west region, said the decision was taken after extensive feedback from stakeholders and the public.

"Certainly it will remain four days for the foreseeable future. We have undertaken a very extensive exercise and consultation and market research and we decided four days was right," he explained.

"We can never be certain about the unforeseeable future, but we are keeping it a four-day Festival.

"I think we looked at a number of elements and a number of different factors at play. There are certainly ground considerations as to whether in the event of inclement weather, a five-day festival would be able to provide the ground in the perfect state we would like to ride it.

"We have also listened to stakeholders and racegoers for their views as to whether it was the right thing to do.

"I've been listening to racegoers for a very long time in the 10 years I have been here, I am well aware of the views of most racegoers and I like to listen to them. So, there has been very little that has taken me by surprise."

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