The New One shines in final school

The New One’s Stan James Champion Hurdle preparations neared completion yesterday with a satisfactory schooling session.

The New One shines in final school

Jockey Sam Twiston-Davies was delighted with the jumping practice and will be hoping for more luck than last year.

The New One has been well placed by trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies this season and has won more money than any other National Hunt horse, bar Silviniaco Conti.

He is unbeaten since being badly hampered by the fatal fall of Our Conor is last season’s Champion Hurdle.

Sam Twiston-Davies tweeted: “The New One did his last bit of schooling and jumped class, fingers crossed for Tuesday!”

Willie Mullins has an enviable hand with red-hot favourite Faugheen, dual winner Hurricane Fly and the capable Arctic Fire.

Mullins has taken out Annie Power and Un De Sceaux, who have alternative engagements in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle and the Arkle respectively.

Garde Le Victoire, Irving, Plinth, Purple Bay, Sign Of A Victory and Tiger Roll were also removed from the reckoning.

Last year’s winner Jezki, Nicky Henderson’s Vaniteux and the Dan Skelton-trained Bertimont complete the field.

Noel Fehily meanwhile will partner Kitten Rock.

Mark Walsh steered the JP McManus-owned five-year-old to a hat-trick of victories this season, but the jockey suffered a broken arm in a fall at Thurles last week.

Fehily’s agent Chris Broad said: “Noel’s been booked to ride him.

“There are only eight runners in the race and he’s a nice ride to get.”

Kitten Rock was a runaway winner of the Red Mills Trial Hurdle at Gowran Park last month, but will be a big outsider for the main event on the opening day.

Trainer Edward O’Grady said: “The plan is to run and he seems in very good form.

“I’m happy with him and he’s in good shape.”

Meanwhile all of the major fancies stood their ground at the latest forfeit stage for the Crabbie’s Grand National, with 87 horses remaining in the Aintree spectacular on April 11.

Only nine horses were scratched, which included Rajdhani Express and Poole Master, who had not met the qualification criteria. Willie Mullins gave up the battle to get Back In Focus fit after he suffered an injury in his box, with Kruzhlinin, Green Flag, My Murphy and Loch Ba also ruled out.

The recently-retired Sunnyhillboy, a former National runner-up, and the ill-fated Burton Port were the other horses officially taken out. One horse very much on target is Peter Bowen’s Scottish National winner Al Co, who ran a promising race over hurdles at Doncaster last weekend.

“It is definitely the plan to go for the Crabbie’s Grand National with Al Co,” said Bowen. I was delighted with his run at Doncaster on Saturday, especially as he still wasn’t really quite ready. “We may look at giving him one more run before Aintree, which will most likely be over hurdles at Bangor in around a fortnight, which will be three weeks before the National. He has won a Scottish National so we know he stays four miles and stamina should not be an issue.

“The ground was too soft for him earlier in the year and we ran him in the Becher just to give him a spin over the fences.

“The horse is in good form and I am just hoping for good ground at Aintree next month.”

Shutthefrontdoor is 8-1 favourite with Betfred to give Tony McCoy a dream send-off.

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