'Hurricane' will be one to beat Twiston-Davies relishes challenge
A FIFTEEN-TIME winner at The Festival, including landing the 2010 Gold Cup with 'Imperial Commander', trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies goes into this year's meeting confident that Champion Hurdle joint-market leader 'The New One' has enough in the tank to see off a hot-pot of stylish rivals.
The six-year-old winner of last year's Neptune Hurdle has an appointment for the big one today, and his handler would love to see the horse taking home the much-coveted trophy.
'He looks very glossy and happy,' says Twiston-Davies. 'He is as easy as you can get. We have not had to do any racecourse gallops as we have the proper facilities here.
'He is just a nice horse - totally uncomplicated. There will be pace but, if there is no pace, others will struggle more than us. 'The New One' quickens and has a phenomenal turn of foot. Someone showed me some statistics. He covered the last two furlongs, over the same track as 'Hurricane Fly' last year, unbelievably quicker. I don't understand how to access such information.
'I hope his turn of foot will win him the day. We don't know if he will win - he has never met 'Hurricane Fly' and 'Our Conor'.
'He was on an impossible stride at the last in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton - that was the problem. His jumping has been absolutely superb all along and it was just bad luck. The reason we got beat at Kempton was that mistake at the hurdle. At Cheltenham you can make a mistake at the last because there is the great big hill to put it right, but at Kempton there is only a short run-in. He did very well to get back within a half-length of 'My Tent Or Yours'.
'There are not many people who would disagree me when I say he would have won if he had jumped the last properly. It was just hard luck. One horse was on a good stride and the other wasn't.
''Hurricane Fly' must be the one to beat. He has stuffed the others twice. You make a case for us beating 'My Tent Or Yours' and 'Hurricane Fly' has beaten the others.
'The horses have been in good form all season. This time last year, we had a few coughing.'