SAM TWISTON-DAVIES cannot wait to be reunited with The New One in today’s StanJames.com Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock – subject to the track passing an 8am inspection.
He misses the ride at Ascot on Dodging Bullets, the main rival to returning superstar Sprinter Sacre in the Grade One Clarence House Chase, in order to partner his father Nigel’s stable star.
This is how much The New One means to the 22-year-old jockey whose career continues to go from strength to strength after recently recording his 100th winner of the current campaign.
An unlucky third in last year’s Champion Hurdle, The New One is unbeaten from three starts this season.
“We’re very happy with the condition he’s in,” said Twiston-Davies. “He schooled nicely on Monday and he seems in good order.
“We’re not too worried about the ground. We’ve targeted this and hopefully it’s the last step on the way to Cheltenham. It would be lovely if he could win, not have too hard a race and then get him nice and fresh for Cheltenham.
“It’s almost nice looking at the Champion Hurdle and going in as the underdog. It will be Faugheen’s toughest test, and probably ours, and if we get beaten I’ll be the first one to shake their hands. It’s why you get into the game, to ride horses like him.”
Meanwhile, Sue Smith is double-handed as she seeks a third triumph in the Peter Marsh Chase following the past successes of Arctic Jack and The Last Fling.
Her in-form High Eldwick stable are hopeful that Vintage Star can bounce back from a disappointing run in Boxing Day’s Rowland Meyrick Chase at Wetherby.
Smith also saddles No Planning, who reverts to fences after making a winning comeback over hurdles at the Rowland Meyrick meeting when given a fine ride by 20-year-old conditional jockey Callum Bewley.
His seven pound weight allowance will be invaluable due to the testing conditions that will be encountered on Merseyside.
“Callum rode him last time over hurdles at Wetherby and won on him,” said assistant trainer Ryan Clavin.
“He rode him well, so the owners were keen to give Callum a go. The horse is in good order so hopefully he can go and run a big race.”
North Yorkshire jockey Danny Cook made a winning comeback from a broken collarbone when partnering the Brian Ellison-trained Streets Of Newyork to victory at Musselburgh yesterday.
Andrew Larnach, Robynne Watton and Nicky McGrath, three members of Middleham trainer Mark Johnston’s team, have been shortlisted for this year’s Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards. They are joined by Lauren Lucas from Micky Hammond’s yard.
Market Rasen racecourse’s general manager Pip Kirkby is to step down from her role to become the next chief executive of the Pony Club.
The delayed inquiry into jockey Aidan Coleman’s whip use when winning the Coral Welsh National on Emperor’s Choice back on December 27 will now take place at Ascot today following the abandonment of yesterday’s Chepstow card.