Cheltenham Festival: The New One is a 'class' win for Sam Twiston-Davies
Sam Twiston-Davies rode The New One to a sensational victory in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle and said afterwards: "It was absolute class."
The betting in the morning suggested there was no way Pont Alexandre could lose his unbeaten record, his odds crashing in expectation of another yet winner for Willie Mullins.
But after making virtually all the running under Ruby Walsh, he had no answer as The New One (7-2) swept by and stormed up the run-in to win impressively by four lengths from Rule The World, with Pont Alexandre's bubble well and truly burst as he trailed home a further six lengths back in third.
Always highly-rated by Sam and his trainer dad Nigel, The New One received a quote of 10-1 for next year's Champion Hurdle, one of the few big races the renowned racing family from Guiting Power have yet to win.
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Sam said The New One hadn't enjoyed a smooth passage through the race but still had the class to win what looked one of the strongest races of the entire meeting.
"He was very good today," he said. "He showed a very good turn of foot and I'm absolutely delighted. I probably got it wrong last time when we were second here as I rode him as if he was more of a stayer than a speed horse, so I thought I'd thought give that sort of ride today and it's worked out.
"He really picked up coming down the hill and when I asked him to go he just took off. He'll probably jump a fence in time, but I would have thought that might be in a couple of years.
"He's only five so I'd imagine we'll have another season over hurdles with him.
"A lot of credit goes to Wayne Jones. He looks after the horse every day, rides him out and he has got him in top form, so fair play to him."
Amid the celebrations, winning owner Sarah Such revealed how The New One came to get his unusual name.
"When he came up the gallops Nigel would say, 'There's the new one with no name' and it stuck," she said.
"We knew he was going to that today, just knew it."