Neptune winner The New One bids to follow up his Cheltenham victoryPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
The New One faces old ones in Aintree clash
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL winner The New One steps up out of novice hurdling company for the first time at Aintree on Thursday as he faces several experienced rivals in the John Smith's Aintree Hurdle.
The five-year-old smashed his rivals in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham with an unmatchable turn of foot approaching the last hurdle.
However, he faces a stern examination in the Aintree Hurdle, which includes Champion Hurdle third Countryside Flame, Champion Hurdle fourth Zarkandar and the Nicky Henderson-trained duo Grandouet and Oscar Whisky.
"It's a big shout but he's improving, whereas some of the others in the race might not be," said trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies.
"We know he loves Aintree. He beat My Tent Or Yours, who everybody is raving about, there last year and it's a speed track which suits him.
"This is likely to be his last race of the season and then we'll put him away and think about the Champion Hurdle next year, all being well."
The New One is favourite to beat his elders at no bigger than 7-2 for the 2m4f Grade 1.
Aintree National good to soft, good in places; Mildmay & Hurdle good, good to soft in places
Taunton Good, good to firm in places
Thurles Yielding, good in places