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Old favourite The New One looks worth a bet
Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies is one of the more likeable characters in the racing game and after thinking of turning in his licence after enduring a barren spell more than a decade ago he is firmly established as one of the very best trainers in the business with the ability to take a horse right to the very top of the tree if the ability is there.

Twiston-Davies’ oldest son Sam is already firmly established as one of the best young riders in the business and will be attached to the stable of champion trainer Paul Nicholls, but will still be available to take plenty of rides for his dad, including The New One, already one of the more persistent Cheltenham Festival tips and a horse who looks well up to the task of winning the 2015 Champion Hurdle.

Currently available at around 5/1 in the ante-post market for the top two-mile hurdles race of the season (alongside Willie Mullins’ terrifically talented ex-novice Faugheen), The New One looked unlucky not to win last season’s Champion Hurdle when things did not go his way but he still ran well to be third. In what was a tremendous renewal of the big race that included the dual winner Hurricane Fly, Nicky Henderson’s classy My Tent or Yours, and the eventual surprise winner Jezki, (trained by Jessica Harrington), The New One appeared to have lost all realistic chance as early as the third flight when badly hampered by the fall of Our Conor.

Young Twiston-Davies didn’t panic though and despite losing valuable ground to top quality opposition managed to work his mount back into the contest and came there to hold a chance going over the second from home. His ability to stay much further than the bare two miles definitely helped the gelded son of King’s Theatre to stay on soundly up the Cheltenham hill, but he was unable to produce his usual turn of foot and had to settle for an honourable third.

With Nigel Twiston-Davies sure to have made meticulous plans to produce his potential champion at the peak of his powers at the big meeting in March, The New One seem sure to give those who have followed the Cheltenham Festival tips and supported him in the ante-post market, every hope of collecting cometh the hour.

Un De Sceaux, winner of all nine of his career starts, is reportedly a horse who excites even champion Irish jumps trainer Willie Mullins who has an embarrassment of riches housed under the roof of his stables in County Carlow. Quite which race the French-bred gelding will target at Cheltenham in March is hard to say at this stage as he has already proved himself versatile with regard to trip, winning at both two and two-and-a-half miles, and ending last term with two victories at the latter trip in graded company at Auteuil in France.

It is also unclear at this stage whether he will remain over hurdles and possible tackle the Champion Hurdle (for which he is currently offered at 14/1), or step up to three miles for the World Hurdle, for which he can be backed at 12/1. Alternatively the six-year-old could well switch to the larger obstacles and go novice chasing. If it is the latter option, as many people suspect, then Un De Sceaux, one of the most persistently popular and likely Cheltenham Festival tips this term, could be of great interest and is currently the ante-post market leader for the two-mile novice chase crown at 7/1.

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