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Cheltenham Champion Hurdle: Why it’s England’s turn again

| 09.03.2015

Nigel Twiston-Davies believes his stable star The New One should be joint favourite with Willie Mullins’ Faugheen for the Cheltenham Festival Champion Hurdle. As it is, you can back him at a markedly bigger 10/3 price than the jolly’s 11/10 odds.

Here at news.ladbrokes we suggest you do just that, for the following reasons:

Four of the past seven winners have been English-trained

Irish trio Istabraq, Hardy Eustace and Hurricane Fly’s multiple wins since the late 1990s have given the impression that this 2m spectacle is all about the boys over the water, but that hasn’t proved the case in recent years.

Nicky Henderson is a five-time Champion Hurdle winner following successive victories for Punjabi and Binocular in 2009-10, Alan King took it the year before with Katchit, and Paul Nicholls/Harry Fry split Hurricane Fly’s pair of triumphs with Rock On Ruby in 2012.

The New One is the only one of three home-team hopefuls shorter than 33/1 at present.

Twiston-Davies’ beast couldn’t run a bad race around Cheltenham if he tried

From eight cracks at the Prestbury Park track, The New One has won five times and placed twice, with his worst finish coming in the 2012 Cheltenham Festival Champion Bumper won by Champagne Fever, when sixth.

Based on such consistency, he looks certain to run well again in the Cotswolds.

Pretty much everybody believes The New One was the best horse in last year’s Champion Hurdle

The seven-year-old’s backers took plenty of heart from the fact that he finished better than any in the Champion Hurdle Jezki won 12 months ago, coming in a mere two-and-three-quarter lengths off Jessica Harrington’s charge despite being badly hampered by fatal faller Our Conor.

Ignore his unimpressive last run in the mud at Haydock seven weeks ago and focus on the fact that The New One has won each of his five races since last March’s Festival.

In the words of eight-time champion jockey Peter Scudamore, Twiston-Davies’ former assistant and current number two to Lucinda Russell, “if The New One was trained by Willie Mullins, he’d be favourite.”

Treat him as such.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Fortune