We saw some great races at Cheltenham on both Friday and Saturday.
The New One confirmed his superiority when beating Zarkandar to win the Stan James International Hurdle. The best price for him to win the Champion Hurdle at the March festival is now 7/2.
Sam Twiston-Davies expressed his relief at winning after fighting off a late surge from the challenging Zarkandar, which had been bumped by the third horse in the latter stages of the race. But The New One fought off the challenge and pulled away to win.
Sam said: “He has so much boot underneath him that I gave him a kick in the belly and off he went. I am a bit annoyed with myself, as I said one thing I wouldn’t do was hit the front before the last, but the horse is very good.”
His father, trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies said: “It’s different class, having the boy on board makes it extra special.
“What I loved was when the other horse got to him he quickened away – that was Champion Hurdle-type acceleration. He’ll have the entry for the Christmas Hurdle and as long as he is 100 per cent he will go, as there’s so few races for him.”
It was the second winner of the day for team Twiston-Davies. Earlier a horse that battles forever, Double Ross, was the 7/1 SP winner of the Stewart Family Thank You Gold Cup. Billed by many as a two horse race, it was anything but.
Double Ross rallied when seemingly beaten in third to romp home in front of Cantlow and the favourite, Colour Squadron. Bookies now have Double Ross at 12/1 to win the Byrne Plate at the Cheltenham festival.Kings Palace was the easiest winner on Saturday. The gelding won the race by a whopping 14 lengths and is now fancied to win the Albert Bartlett at the festival. Bookies have Kings Palace priced at 7/1 (with Boylesports).
Champion jockey AP McCoy rode two winners on the day. Firstly he won on Eastlake and then on his full brother, More of That.
More of That won the last race at Cheltenham on Saturday. The gelding looked good and provided trainer Jonjo O’Neill with his 100th winner of the season. The trainer said a decision as to when and where More of That will run next will be made at a later date. But do keep an eye out for More of That. He looks good to me and the World Hurdle may be the aim come next March.
Already the attention of punters is turning to next spring and the Cheltenham festival.
It promises to be a cracker.