Sam Twiston-Davies has not given up hope of The New One winning for the second time at the Cheltenham Festival.
Trained by his father, Nigel, The New One won the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle in 2013 and has finished third, fifth, fourth and fifth in the last four Champion Hurdles.
Having shown he retains plenty of ability this season while falling just short of the very best, he will be stepped up to three miles in March for the Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle.
“Everyone knows what Nige is like and he will always be tempted by the Champion Hurdle, but he did say the one thing he would do this year is try the three-mile race,” said Twiston-Davies.
“He is in fantastic form and he will run over two miles at Haydock, then we will step into the unknown at Cheltenham and see and hope.
“The one thing with the Champion Hurdle is the prize-money is fantastic all the way down. He finished fifth last year and got loads of prize-money and you never know, he could nick a bit more.
“(But) when you go to Cheltenham you want to believe you can win and the trouble is with some of those younger horses coming through, they just have that little bit too much speed for him.
“The chance we have of winning at Cheltenham is in the three-mile race. We are stepping massively into the unknown, but you have to remember he won a Neptune over two-five and he ran through the finishing line and didn’t pull up until the top of the hill.
“If the ground is good, I don’t see any reason why he won’t get it. It will open up a lot more avenues and as we have seen over two miles this season, he is still plenty capable of picking up prize-money in the best races.”
Twiston-Davies is also looking forward to riding the Paul Nicholls-trained Politologue in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
He said: “It almost seems a bit like Dodging Bullets’ Champion Chase season. He came into the race in red-hot form and a lot of the others had question marks. I am really hoping it is a bit like that. His confidence is sky high and we are hoping we can do the business and that is the dream.
“Paul is a master at giving time to horses. He had a brilliant season last season and he would have won a Grade One at Aintree had he not fallen and he has just given him time.
“He deals with that soft ground well, but there is no reason why he won’t deal with good ground just as well.”