SAM Twiston-Davies believes The New One needs to win today’s StanJames.com International Hurdle at Cheltenham to keep his Champion Hurdle dreams alive.
The six-year-old, a luckless third in last season’s two-mile blue riband, has won his two starts this season and is trained by the jockey’s father Nigel.
“He seems in very good form and everyone is happy with him at home,” said Twiston-Davies junior. “It’s a solid race and he has to give weight away all round, but if he is going to be a live contender for the Champion Hurdle these are races he needs to be winning.
“Luckily he seems to handle any ground, which is a big plus.”
The horse expected to give The New One most to think about is Nicky Henderson’s Greatwood Hurdle runner-up Vaniteux. The five-year-old is in receipt of 8lb from the favourite and the trainer is keen to see if his charge can compete at the top level.
David Pipe’s Kings Palace is the new ante-post favourite for the Cheltenham Festival’s RSA Chase after an imposing win yesterday at the Cotswolds track.
The horse is unbeaten from two starts over fences and stable jockey Tom Scudamore ventured: “He’s quick and slick at his fences, which is just what you want. He had it to do on 8lb worse terms with Sausalito Sunrise, but he has really taken to fences well. Hopefully, he can fulfil his potential.”
Captain Chris has been ruled out of the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day because of minor lameness, says trainer Philip Hobbs.