Cheltenham 2015: The New One can step up to challenge Faugheen and break Irish hearts
The New One can break Irish hearts and win the Stan James Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Almost forgotten in the hype surrounding Faugheen, Hurricane Fly and Jezki, the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained seven-year-old is a dangerous animal to overlook whenever he gets to the Cotswolds.
He relishes the famous hill, and eight starts at the home of jumps racing have yielded five wins.
Arguments will rage forever and a day about just how unlucky he was in last year's renewal, but there is no doubt his chance was severely compromised by the fatal fall of Our Conor and was left with many lengths to make up.
Some will say he was flattered in running on past beaten horses to get to within three lengths of Jezki and My Tent Or Yours, while others are adamant that shows the extent of his misfortune.
A horse that never seems to please everyone, the reaction to his win over Bertimont at Haydock was over the top. Simply put, it was a prep run and he got the job done.
He has an unblemished record in five outings since the Champion 12 months ago and the more the ground dries, the better his chance.
There is definitely value in his price to give would-be superstar Faugheen plenty to think about.
Day one is all about Willie Mullins and he could very easily dominate, but everything is priced accordingly and there might be some fun to be had opposing Douvan in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle with Seedling at double-figure odds.
Warren Greatrex has bypassed other targets to wait for the Festival and he has done nothing but progress this season.
A couple of wins at Plumpton confirmed his well-being and his victory at Cheltenham in December was most encouraging.
The form has worked out, too, with runner-up Some Plan winning since, as has third home, Padge.
Douvan might be the real deal but the Supreme can be a graveyard for favourites and he will need all the requisite luck.
In the hope of striking opening-day gold, it can pay to go with Vibrato Valtat over Un De Sceaux in the Racing Post Arkle Trophy.
If ever a horse was boom or bust, it is Un De Sceaux, who is a brilliantly talented performer but has the style of running that will have his backers closing their eyes until it is over.
With Vibrato Valtat making rapid strides of late, he could well find the race setting up perfectly for him. Once considered a weak finisher, a wind operation has been the making of the Paul Nicholls-trained grey, who looked very polished when winning the Kingmaker at Warwick.
Having gone against Mullins with a few of his big names, it might just be a step too far to oppose Annie Power in the OLBG Mares' Hurdle.
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL: 1.30 Seedling, 2.05 Vibrato Valtat, 2.40 Cape Tribulation, 3.20 THE NEW ONE (NAP), 4.00 Annie Power, 4.40 Return Spring, 5.15 Garrahalish.
SEDGEFIELD: 1.45 Fly Home Harry, 2.20 Bon Chic, 2.55 Light The City, 3.35 Ivan Boru, 4.15 Politbureau, 4.55 Gin Cobbler, 5.25 Now Let Go.
SOUTHWELL: 1.55 More Spice, 2.30 Hellbender, 3.05 Harwoods Star, 3.45 Street Force, 4.25 Cono Zur, 5.05 Tacticus, 5.35 Back Burner.
WOLVERHAMPTON: 5.45 Point North, 6.15 Avertor, 6.45 Oeil De Tigre, 7.15 Subcontinent, 7.45 Lacey, 8.15 Artist Cry.
DOUBLE: The New One and Vibrato Valtat.