|The New One at Grange Farm Stables – 25 Feb 2013
This was only his second defeat, the first coming in the Bumper at last year’s Festival for which he had an interrupted preparation. The New One made up for it in the Bumper at Aintree when beating no less than My Tent Or Yours; current hot favourite for the Supreme Novices Hurdle. The New One started this season winning a small race at Newton Abbot before living up to his name by wining the first race of the new Cheltenham season beating Village Vic; the first two coming home a distance clear of the others. It was then onto Warwick where I really liked the way be pressed on and put his rivals to the sword, oozing class and coming home 16 lengths clear of the field. His jumping has steadily improved throughout the season and he has a great blend of speed and stamina. Add in his experience of Cheltenham, the fact his trainer has targeted this race plus he meets most of the trends and he makes an inviting wager. He’s likely to face tough opposition from the Irish Pont Alexendre who heads the market for Willie Mullins although it wouldn’t surprise me to see him switched to the Albert Bartlett. The New One and Pont Alexandre are head and shoulders above the others and unusually there’s little strength in depth in this race. Several of the opposition such as Rule The World appear to be raw future chasers and may well lack the speed necessary for this test. 1pt each way The New One – Neptune Novices Hurdle – 9/2 with Paddy Power. I’ll be visiting the Twiston-Davies yard on Monday and look forward to getting the latest news on my Cheltenham Banker and will update this article accordingly. In the meantime, take the 9/2 with Paddy Power or 4/1 with Victor Chandler who offer the non-runner no bet concession in the Cheltenham betting markets. The trainer of the 5 year old says simply but significantly, “He’s very good”. UPDATE on 25 Feb: During the media day at Grange House Stables this morning Nigel Twiston-Davies said that The New One has a “tremendous burst of speed” and that this time they would “take it up after the last”. The horse looked in A1 condition as you can see for yourself in the photos above. I’d be very interested to hear your tips and thoughts on the Neptune. Please post in the Comments below or tweet me @JPFestival. Thank you.