Admirable 10-year-old The New One bids for an unprecedented fourth victory in the £140,000 G2 Unibet International Hurdle (3.05pm, eight runners) at Cheltenham on Saturday, day two of The International, in what could be his final racecourse appearance.
The New One (Nigel Twiston-Davies/Sam Twiston-Davies, 9/1 with Unibet) captured the near two-mile, one-furlong (2m 179y) highlight in 2013, 2014 and 2016, and last year narrowly failed in his bid for the four-timer when going down by a length and a quarter to My Tent Or Yours.
Birds Nest (1977, 1978, 1980) and Relkeel (1997, 1998, 1999) are the only other three-time winners of the Unibet International Hurdle, the most valuable race staged at The International.
The New One comes into tomorrow's Unibet International Hurdle on the back of a rare poor performance when top-weight in the Welsh Champion Limited Handicap Hurdle at Ffos Las on October 20, finishing a well-beaten seventh behind Silver Streak (Evan Williams/Barry Geraghty, 5/1).
This will be The New One's 40th race and he has already enjoyed 20 victories. He usually makes the running.
Nigel Twiston-Davies, who trains not far from Cheltenham near Guiting Power, revealed: "The New One is in good form at home.
"His last run was inexplicable, but we are going to try something different this time. He will wear a visor which will hopefully just sharpen him up.
"The New One has been a great horse for us and a privilege to have in the yard - we are looking forward to the race."
Last season's G1 Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle hero Summerville Boy (Tom George/Noel Fehily) is the 5/2 favourite with Unibet and bids to get back to winning ways after finishing fourth behind Buveur D'Air in the G1 Fighting Fight Hurdle at Newcastle on December 1.
Progressive five-year-old Silver Streak followed up his Welsh Champion Hurdle victory with a neck second to Nietzsche in the G3 Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle at The November Meeting. He will be ridden by Barry Geraghty for the first time tomorrow.
Champion Jump trainer Nicky Henderson saddles G1 scorer We Have A Dream (Daryl Jacob, 7/2) and Brain Power (Nico De Boinville, 8/1), who has been running over fences, as the Lambourn handler seeks a fifth Unibet International Hurdle success.
Old Guard (Paul Nicholls/Bryony Frost, 9/1) is also going after further glory in this race, having taken the spoils as a four-year-old in 2015, came third in 2016 and fifth in 2017. He drops back in trip, having finished second on his latest start in the G2 Ascot Hurdle over nearly two and a half miles on November 24.
A thriling line-up for the Unibet International Hurdle is completed by G1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle third Vision Des Flos (Colin Tizzard/Robbie Power, 12/1) and course scorer Western Ryder (Warren Greatrex/Richard Johnson, 9/1).
The Unibet International Hurdle forms part of the Unibet Road to Cheltenham and is a leading trial for the G1 Unibet Champion Hurdle at The Festival™ presented by Magners in March.
Unibet International Hurdle - Unibet odds:
5/2 Summerville Boy
7/2 We Have A Dream
5/1 Silver Streak
8/1 Brain Power
9/1 Old Guard, The New One, Western Ryder
12/1 Vision Des Flos
each-way terms: 1/5 the odds - 1,2,3
The tremendous feature handicap chase on day two of The International is the £130,000 G3 Caspian Caviar Gold Cup (1.55pm, 15 runners) over two miles, four and a half furlongs (2m 4f 127), in which Baron Alco (Gary Moore/Jamie Moore) is chasing a famous double after his victory in last month's feature BetVictor Gold Cup at The November Meeting.
There is further G2 action courtesy of the £32,000 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (2.30pm, nine runners) over three miles, with 145-rated performer Aye Aye Charlie (Fergal O'Brien/Paddy Brennan) and recent Ascot scorer Doux Pretender (Nicky Henderson/Noel Fehily) headlining nine runners.
G1 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle second Ok Corral (Nicky Henderson/Barry Geraghty) makes his chasing debut in the £25,000 Ryman Novices' Chase (12.45pm, six runners) over an extended two and a half miles. Stablemate Jenkins (Nico de Boinville) and eye-catching Exeter victor The Russian Doyen (Colin Tizzard/Robbie Power) are among his five rivals.
Fret D'Estruval (Alan King/Daryl Jacob), a dual winner over hurdles in France for Guillaume Macaire, makes his UK debut in the opening £25,000 JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle (12.10pm, seven runners) over nearly two miles and a furlong.
Bun Doran (Tom George/Paddy Brennan, 11st 7lb) bids to follow up his impressive eight-length victory at The November Meeting in the £30,000 Cheltenham Club Handicap Chase (1.20pm, six runners) over an extended two miles. G2 Haldon Gold Cup second Ozzie The Oscar (Philip Hobbs/Richard Johnson) heads the weights on 11st 12lb.
The final race of the day is the competitive £30,000 OLBG Mares' Handicap Hurdle (3.40pm, 10 runners) over an extended two and a half miles.
The International gets underway today, December 14, when the highlight is the £60,000 G3 CF Roberts 25 Years Of Sponsorship Handicap Chase (2.30pm, nine runners) over three and a quarter miles.
The International takes place on the New Course at Cheltenham.
The ground at Cheltenham is currently: Good
GongStick reading 7.3 on the Chase & Hurdle Courses (New Course)
All chase bends dolled out 10 yards, adding 63 yards to each circuit for races over two miles and three miles and 95 yards for races over two and a half miles.
All hurdle bends dolled out 10 yards, adding 63 yards to races over two miles and 95 yards for races over two and a half and three miles.
Distances are as advertised plus the following for Saturday, December 15:
Race 1 +63 yards
Race 2 +95 yards
Race 3 +63 yards
Race 4 +95 yards
Race 5 +95 yards
Race 6 +63 yards
Race 7 +95 yards
Conditions are forecast to remain dry until Saturday, when rain is expected from late morning.