The New One pings the last to run out a very easy winnerPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
The New One slams Rock On Ruby in thrilling duel
Report: Kempton, Sunday
William Hill - Download The App Hurdle (Listed) 2m, 4yo+
PUNTERS sided with him beforehand and they proved spot-on in their opinion as 1-2 shot The New One slammed the 2012 Champion Hurdle winner Rock On Ruby, showing an emphatic turn of foot to run away from his more experienced rival in the straight to win by ten lengths.
It's very early days in the season, but this victory over two miles shows The New One is a definite Stan James Champion Hurdle candidate and bookmakers reacted as you'd expect. Boylesports now make the winner their 7-2 joint-favourite (from 7-1) with Hurricane Fly for the Champion. Paddy Power cut him to 5-1 (from 6-1), while Betfred go shorter, 9-2 from 7-1.
Obviously the winning connections were thrilled with this result. The New One's best form had all been over a longer distance last season, so there had to be a question mark over whether the Neptune winner would be up to taking on speedier horses dropping back in distance.
Well, his answer was emphatic here, as once Sam Twiston-Davies asked his mount to pick up Rock On Ruby in the straight there was a turbo-charged acceleration which his older rival could not cope with.
"It's a huge relief," said trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies. "It's lovely to see him do it right and show that turn of foot. He has taken everything so well and is so relaxed. He is just exceptional.
"I was delighted, his hurdling couldn't be improved on that, and he will go for the Champion Hurdle."
This was a well-run race, too, with the mare, Coronea Lilly, setting a good early pace to the fifth, from where Rock On Ruby took over. From there the duel ensued but in the end it was a pretty one-sided contest.
The dominant winning margin should be tempered by the fact that we are very early in the season and The New One has a perfect record fresh compared to only a decent one for Rock On Ruby, but the five-year-old surely answered any questions with regards to his class with this display.
"I'd say there is definitely more to come, he'll improve on that. At the moment we're looking at the Bula [International Hurdle] and then come back here for the Christmas Hurdle," said Twiston-Davies.
Betfred eased the runner-up to 20-1 (from 14-1) for the Champion Hurdle and his trainer Harry Fry said afterwards that he will be reverting back to headgear with him in future.
"The winner was very impressive and we would have liked to give him more of a race," he said.