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The New One clear Champion Hurdle favourite after International romp

| 16.12.2013

The New One became the clear Champion Hurdle favourite on Saturday as Nigel Twiston-Davies’ stable star was cut to 3/1 (from 4s).

The reason for this movement was an authoritative performance in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham – his fourth win at the trainer’s local course.

The son of King’s Theatre has now won nine of his 12 starts and his win at the weekend suggests that he is a much better horse than last season.

In April he was beaten by Zarkandar at Aintree, however he was a comfortable six lengths ahead of that rival in Saturday’s race.

Bet on The New One to win Champion Hurdle at 3/1

Unfortunately the race isn’t the easiest to assess due to the lack of numbers and in truth, quality horses, in the field.

Zarkandar – who himself won the Triumph Hurdle in 2011 – has been beaten roughly six lengths in the last two renewals of the Champion Hurdle.

He may have finished closer on Saturday had he not been involved in some scrimmaging at the last hurdle, however he is a decent benchmark.

The New One won the Neptune at last season’s Festival

Those who wish to denigrate the form have two weapons in their armoury.

First is the time of the race: nearly 10 seconds slower than standard.

Considering the ground was good, that would suggest that the race wasn’t a stellar renewal, as does the fact that 100/1 outsider Jumps Road was only beaten by 12 lengths.

Indeed Colin Tizzard’s charge – who is rated 131 – was travelling very well approaching the last flight of hurdles.

However he was badly hampered as jockey Brendan Powell went for a run up the rails and wasn’t given a hard time afterwards.

Although a winner on his previous start, his proximity certainly holds down the form.

The New One has won nine of his 12 starts

The Twiston-Davies team were obviously pleased with the win and they expect their horse to be even better when granted a sterner test of his ability.

Jockey Sam Twiston-Davies’ said: “I nearly messed it up. In my own mind I didn’t want to be in front before the last but he was going so easy, cantering, that I let him go.”

There have been several performances from the leading Champion Hurdle contenders this season and connections believe that their horse isn’t yet at the top of the tree.

Hurricane Fly won the Champion Hurdle in 2011 and 2013

Hurricane Fly was the name put forward by Twiston-Davies Jnr when asked who he feared most in an interview on Sunday and he was quite disparaging about My Tent Or Yours.

Both My Tent Or Yours and The New One are strong travellers with a good burst of acceleration, however the Champion Hurdle often goes to strong battlers (think Hardy Eustace, Katchit, Rock On Ruby).

Having proven his determination 12 months ago, one would have to echo the view that Hurricane Fly is still top of the tree at this stage.



Nic Doggett