The New One thriving as Twiston-Davies eyes fourth International triumph
Nigel Twiston-Davies has high hopes of winning a record fourth Unibet International Hurdle at Cheltenham a week on Saturday with The New One, who followed his reappearance win in the Welsh Champion Hurdle with a solid fourth under top weight in the Greatwood Hurdle.
The trainer, speaking at a media event at his Gloucestershire yard, said: "The New One is looking really good after his run in the Greatwood, where he was beaten only about five lengths. I thought he ran a superb race and he proved yet again he was by far the best horse in the race.
"He'll have a penalty again, but he gave 8lb to My Tent Or Yours in last year's International and there's no reason he can't do so again, although rain would help."
Rain between now and then is even more important for last month's BetVictor Gold Cup winner Splash Of Ginge, who will sidestep the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup and wait for the Coral Welsh Grand National if the Cheltenham going is not soft enough.
Long term he is viewed as a serious Randox Health Grand National candidate, and owner John Neild has a million reasons for hoping Aintree is no mere pipedream.
A Liverpudlian who has always dreamt of winning the National, Neild put his money where his mouth is before Splash Of Ginge ever ran, and there is a betting slip on display in Twiston-Davies' local pub, The Hollow Bottom, to prove it, Starsports having laid him to lose £1m at 1,000-1 to win the race at any time in his career.
Twiston-Davies said: "Splash Of Ginge wants rain if he's to run at Cheltenham because he needs a test of stamina at two and a half miles, but it wouldn't be so important if he waits for Chepstow, where we think he'll stay.
"We'll see how he goes, but I'm sure he'll have a National entry. John's a Liverpudlian, so it's understandable he wants to go there, and he's had that bet and so stands to win £1 million if Splash Of Ginge were to win the race one day.
"Now that he's rediscovered his jumping ability through going back over hurdles there's every reason to think he'd jump round there."
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