The New One faces five rivals in the inaugural running of the £100,000 Betfair Price Rush Hurdle at Haydock this afternoon.
Nigel Twiston-Davies immediately mentioned the new race as the target for his stable star after he came through his first run of the season without a hitch at Kempton.
Considered by many to have finished an unlucky third in the Champion Hurdle in March, he is behind only Faugheen in the ante-post betting for this season’s renewal at Cheltenham.
The conditions of the race mean The New One has plenty in hand at the weights and it will be a major surprise, not to mention disappointing for connections, were he to meet with defeat.
“He’s very well and this has been the plan since Kempton,” said Twiston-Davies.
“There are some nice horses in there, there’s bound to be for the money.
“No race is a penalty kick but he ought to win, barring accidents, when you look at the ratings.
“He goes on any ground, quick or slow, so that shouldn’t be an excuse, and we’re looking forward to it.
“Should all go to plan, it will be Cheltenham next for the International.”
One who steps up markedly in grade is Tim Easterby’s Hawk High. A Cheltenham Festival winner in the Fred Winter last season, he got off to a great start this term with a win at Aintree, form which has already been boosted by third-placed Garde Le Victoire winning the Greatwood last week.
Unfortunately for Easterby, though, the ground is unlikely to be in Hawk High’s favour.
He said: “I have spoken with Trevor Hemmings (owner) and he was keen to run.
“I am always worried about the ground with him but he should be OK. He has run well on soft ground but is a better horse on good ground.”
According to official ratings, The New One will face his stiffest task from Melodic Rendezvous.
Trained by Jeremy Scott, the eight-year-old won the Champion Hurdle Trial over the same course and distance as this in January and followed up in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton a month later, when he beat Zarkandar.
His season ended on a downward note, however, as the spring ground caught him out at both Cheltenham and Aintree.
“The horse is fit and ready to run,” said Scott.
“We had him in at Ascot as well but we were always going to run wherever the ground was softest.”
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