Twiston-Davies looks for change of fortune

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SAM TWISTON-DAVIES hopes The New One can enjoy a welcome change of luck in today’s Grade One Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle, one of the first-day highlights of the Crabbie’s Grand National meeting.

A slightly disappointing second in the corresponding race last year to Zarkandar, The New One was desperately unlucky in last month’s Stan James Champion Hurdle when badly hampered by Our Conor’s fatal fall.

He was a fast finishing third to Jezki and Twiston-Davies, who rides the veteran Tidal Bay in the National, is hopeful that this exciting horse can confirm his class and return to winning ways.

“He seems in great heart and we are looking to put the unlucky stories behind us,” said the 21-year-old.

“I don’t know if he had a harder race because he had to make up so much ground.

“When it happened winning went out of my head and it was more about getting him balanced and getting him enjoying it again because he jumped the next two a bit scratchy.

“Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t easy on him after the last, I really got stuck into him, but he beat the reigning champion, Hurricane Fly, after being hampered so I think that speaks for itself.”

Rock On Ruby reverts to hurdling after his limitations as a chaser were exposed when well-beaten in the Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham following an early blunder.

Harry Fry’s stable star was trounced 10 lengths by The New One when the pair clashed at Kempton in October, and the trainer is realistic about his chances today.

“We made the decision to revert to hurdles after his disappointing run in the Arkle, where his mistake at the third cost him any chance and underlined his lack of scope at the highest level,” said Fry. “He’s not going to turn into a Queen Mother or a Ryanair horse next year so we’re going back over hurdles.”