Belfast Telegraph

Monday 30 May 2016

New One so special

By Robert Fenton

Published 24/10/2013

Champion material: The New One, on way to beating Rock On Ruby, is great bet in Champion Hurdle
Champion material: The New One, on way to beating Rock On Ruby, is great bet in Champion Hurdle

The New One is the new kid on the block as far as the 2014 Champion Hurdle is concerned.

At this stage of the season, caution is the operative word when talking about the Cheltenham Festival next March and what horses will dominate the major races.

Apart from Sprinter Sacre once again probably winning the Queen Mother Two Mile Champion Chase, good things are not in abundance especially in the latter weeks of October.

But in Nigel Twiston-Davies' youngster The New One, we have the real thing when it comes to what is likely to be first up the Cheltenham hill in the Champion Hurdle on the opening day of the four-day extravaganza.

Winner of the Neptune Novice Hurdle last year – a race which the great Istabraq won before going on to Champion greatness – The New One enhanced his status with an easy 10-lengths victory over Rock On Ruby, the 2012 Champion and last year's runner-up, in last Sunday's Listed race at Kempton. Rock On Ruby would not have been anywhere near his best on his seasonal debut as he's a hard horse to get fit but the manner of his conqueror's victory was ominous and impressive.

And he proved he has the speed for two miles – his stamina is not in doubt – by recording a time five seconds faster than the promising Sea Lord who took the Listed Novice Hurdle earlier in the day.

Twiston-Davies has every right to be confident about his charge, and odds of 5/1 with Paddy Power are appealing, especially as he's only 7/2 with rival firms.

Looking back, Rooster Booster won the same Kempton race in 2002 and went on to Cheltenham success. The New One's next outing is likely to be the Bula Hurdle over his home Cheltenham track and then the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.

Wins there and he'll be a 5/2 chance at best for the big one.

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