Unibet Champion Hurdle Trial Hurdle | Grade 2 | 2m | 4yo+ | ITV4/RUK
The New One, who broke through the £1 million prize-money barrier when runner-up to Buveur D’Air in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton last month, bids for a remarkable fourth consecutive victory in this prestigious Grade 2 event.
Although now ten years of age, there is no sign of the fire which burns inside The New One each time he goes onto a racecourse being extinguished, and he still retains most – if not all – of his ability.
The winner of 19 of his 35 races races during a fantastic career which began with a victory in a Warwick bumper in November 2011, The New One faces just three rivals, headed by the Dan Skelton-trained Ch’Tibello as he bids to continue his stranglehold on the Haydock prize.
“He’s going for a fourth win in the race,” said his proud trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies. “He has to give 6lb to Ch’Tibello, but he should win.
“He’s never been very impressive round Haydock – there’s no hill for him to climb like at Cheltenham – but he’s always got the job done. The ground isn’t ideal, but he deals with it. He’s a super horse.”
Sam Twiston-Davies, who has partnered The New One to all bar two of his wins – including all three in this particular race – is in the saddle once again.
The New One is set to tackle Cheltenham's Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, with connections preferring to step him up in trip rather than face Buveur D'Air and other speedsters in the Unibet Champion Hurdle.
Ch’Tibello is unlikely to prove a pushover having finished just behind second-placed The New One when fourth to My Tent Or Yours in Cheltenham’s Grade 2 International Hurdle when last seen.
The seven-year-old was getting 6lb off The New One that day, as he does here, but looks likely to strip fitter for that first outing of the season.
He showed progressive form last term, including when finishing a length runner-up to odds-on favourite Yanworth in the Grade 2 Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton.
Clyne, who made The New One pull out all the stops for a third consecutive victory in the race 12 months ago, renews rivalry at the Merseyside track after finishing second to Testify on his first start over fences last time out.
Trainer Evan Williams said: “What a wonderful horse. He’s got a tough task, but loves the conditions and loves Haydock. He will jump a fence again next season.”
The Jeremy Scott-trained Unison, winner of a Class 2 Huntingdon handicap hurdle in November, completes the field.