Saturday 18 November 2017

The New One shows Champion Hurdle credentials with International Hurdle win

Sam Twiston-Davies celebrates his victory on The New One in the International Hurdle
Sam Twiston-Davies celebrates his victory on The New One in the International Hurdle

Tom Peacock

The New One forwarded his Champion Hurdle claims with victory in an interesting renewal of the International Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Nigel Twiston-Davies' five-year-old had to give best to Zarkandar at Aintree at the end of last year, but he reversed the form in a dramatic finish.

Zarkandar was always to the fore, while Sam Twiston-Davies was content to bide his time, with his mount famed for his finishing burst.

It was a game of cat and mouse at the top of the hill as Zarkandar was in front, with The New One (2-5 favourite) poised on the inside rail on the long run to the last and Jumps Road also still in the hunt.

However, it all got a bit tight coming down to the last with Jumps Road and Zarkandar involved in a skirmish on the rail, hindering the run of both horses and leaving The New One in front possibly sooner than ideal.

The market leader did not produce the cleanest jump at the last, but although Zarkandar battled back gamely, The New One found a surge and was too strong in the end, finishing six lengths clear.

The winning rider said: "I missed the last, but he has so much boot underneath him that I gave him a kick in the belly and off he went.

"I am a bit annoyed with myself, as I said one thing I wouldn't do was hit the front before the last, but the horse is very good."

Proud father Twiston-Davies said: "It's different class, having the boy on board makes it extra special.

"Winning races with Carl (Llewellyn) who is my best mate was great, but that is an extra bit again.

"What I loved was when the other horse got to him he quickened away - that was Champion Hurdle-type acceleration.

"He'll have the entry for the Christmas Hurdle and as long as he is 100 per cent he will go, as there's so few races for him."

Daryl Jacob said of Zarkandar: "It (interference) has obviously put him off his stride a bit, but in regard to the winner there was no way I'd have got him anyway."

The stewards ruled Brendan Powell on Jumps Road at fault, and suspended him for three days for careless riding.

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