Fans of The New One must be sweating with anxiety ahead of this year’s Cheltenham Festival.
It’s that time of year when they open their wallets on his chances.
Hope is starting to spring eternal that this just might be his year, now he’s been allowed his chance to test his mettle over three miles in the Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle – hence the reason why those aforementioned The New One fans will be feeling a little dicky.
The scars run true for his backers over the years. Out of novice hurdle company, Nigel Twiston Davies’ charge has been beaten at twice at 100/30, 7/2 and 10/1 in the Champion Hurdle.
Each year is the same story: wins during the season at a lower level, plus stable confidence, see The New One backers come out in their droves to put their hard earned down on their beloved beast.
Each time, the money ends up in the bookmakers satchels.
Those that have had their fingers burnt will be fearing of a similar scenario in a couple of weeks.
They must stay strong and stay away.
Since chasing home My Tent Or Yours in the Unibet International Hurdle in December, The New One has finished runner-up to Buveur D’Air in the Grade One Unibet Christmas Hurdle at Kempton Park on Boxing Day and landed the Grade Two Unibet Champion Hurdle Trial for the fourth time at Haydock Park in January.
It’s easy to see why he’s got such a die-hard following.
The admirable 10-year-old has been victorious 20 times in total, earning over £1million in prize money, and has only finished out of the first four just four times in 36 starts.
Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies spoke about The New One at a Cheltenham Racecourse-organised media stable visit to his Gloucestershire stables ahead of The Festival. Amazingly, Twiston-Davies, usually so positive about his horses when asked, is not confident that The New One will stay the trip.
He said. “I am not confident about three miles for The New One at all, which is why we have hung on so long to try him over it.
“We will be riding The New One differently and so on – we won’t be making all. He has won over two and a half miles quite a few times, but is he really staying on then? I don’t know.
“He is the horse of a lifetime – it would be nice to win the Stayers’ Hurdle as it was so sad when the first Champion Hurdle was there for the taking and he was knocked out of it. Sam (Twiston-Davies – son and jockey) has been keen to try The New One over three miles for a long time.”
A horse a lifetime for Twiston-Davies, maybe, but one that come drenched with frustration.
My advice to The New One junkies is, to keep calm, take a deep breath and keep your powder dry.
Like a junkie looking for that one last hit, it’s time to go cold turkey despite the 9/1 available.