StanJames.com Champion Hurdle Trial
|£75,000 added, Haydock 14:40
1m 7f 144y, Class 1
|Saturday 23rd January 2016|
1 The New One 8/13F
2 Rayvin Black 8/1
3 Melodic Rendezvous 13/2
6 ran Distances: 2¼l, 4½l, 18l
TIME 4m 5.10s (slow by 25.10s)
The New One makes hard work of beating Rayvin Black in heavy ground at Haydock
He hardly set the world alight, but The New One will at least be heading into a rematch with Faugheen with a confidence-boosting win under his belt after repeating his success of 12 months ago.
Last season Nigel Twiston-Davies' pride and joy was put in his place by the Willie Mullins' battalion in the Champion Hurdle - but the Gloucestershire handler insists The New One will arrive at this year's Cheltenham Festival in much better shape, barring accidents.
Oliver Sherwood's Rayvin Black made the 16-times winner pull out all the stops in desperately heavy ground, despite trying to pull himself up on the first circuit, but eventually the 8-13 favourite won by two and a quarter lengths under Sam Twiston-Davies.
Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies said: "He was much better this year, I thought. He jumped straight, in fact that was probably as well as he's ever jumped.
"He'll be going to Cheltenham in better form this year than last year, from this point on. It was a struggle with his feet (last year), he did all his prep in the swimming pool. We were still only beaten by eight lengths and I'm hoping with a straight run at it we can be more competitive.
"It's hard for any horse to be impressive in that ground, it blunts acceleration, which is his strong suit.
"He's given 8lb to a horse rated 146, I don't think that's bad form on ground he hates.
"He'll be better in March."
The winning rider, who will miss February 7 and 8 for using his whip in the incorrect place, said: "Ground-wise today, it is a different kind of testing, it is so lifeless and it just kills all his good attributes.
"The fact he has plenty of speed and can jump well off good ground, it's just something today that hasn't suited him. But even so he has carried top weight, so it was a solid run.
"Happy, but as always with this race we're not coming out fully delighted, but there's a bit to work on yet."
On the Champion Hurdle, in which The New One was fifth 12 months ago and third in 2014, he added: "Obviously Faugheen is very, very good but second, third, fourth - the crumbs are very tasty ones.
"We know what it's like, if something goes wrong for the favourite he could maybe pick up the rest, we'll see what happens."
Stanjames.com Champion Hurdle Trial
£75,000 added, 4yo plus, 1m 7f 144y, Class 1
|1st||The New One (IRE) 8/13f||Sam Twiston-Davies
|N A Twiston-Davies||8|
|2nd||2¼||Rayvin Black 8/1||Thomas Garner
|3rd||4½||Melodic Rendezvous 13/2||Matt Griffiths
|4th||18||Captain Conan (FR) 10/1||A Tinkler
|N J Henderson||9|
|5th||¾||Strongpoint (IRE) 40/1||P Buchanan
|S R B Crawford||12|
|6th||8||Fou Et Sage (FR) 10/1||Harry Skelton