The New One to run at Sandown for first time before three-mile campaign
bet365 Select Hurdle l G2 l 2m5½f l RUK
The New One brings a touch of class to this eight-runner staying hurdle contest in which he is up in trip as a prelude to tackling three miles next season.
The nine-year-old has never run at Sandown before due to lack of suitable opportunities but, after a relatively light campaign, he is to attempt one last roll of the dice in this seasonal finale.
The likely front-runner, who has faced the mighty Buveur D'Air the last twice, will find this no penalty kick however, as Nigel Twiston-Davies's stable stalwart will be surrounded by four Nicky Henderson runners as well as three from the Paul Nicholls stable including last year's winner Ptit Zig.
Second top on ratings in the line-up is Ptit Zig's stablemate Modus who should have no problem with this sort of trip, as he showed when winning the Listed Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton in January, after which he was a decent sixth in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham last month.
Making a much quicker return to action is L'Ami Serge, one of Henderson's quartet and who resurfaces just a week after finishing fifth to Chesterfield in the Scottish Champion Hurdle.
All three previous runnings of this have been won by the favourite, most recently Ptit Zig (7-4).
Sam is the man
Sam Twiston-Davies, who rides The New One, is out to win this for a third time after Southfield Theatre (2014) and Ptit Zig a year ago.
What they say
Paul Nicholls, trainer of Old Guard, Modus and Ptit Zig
I’ve had this race in mind for Modus since Cheltenham. I think it’s the perfect race for him and he ran well in the Coral Cup. Old Guard is stuck between handicaps and graded races so it’s hard for him from his handicap mark. Ptit Zig won the race last year and is in good order, so I hope he can run well again.
Nigel Twiston-Davies, trainer of The New One
We're stepping him up in trip and hopefully it will suit him as we aim to campaign him over three miles next year. He's never run at Sandown before but there's no reason why he can't handle it, and he seems fresh and well at home as he's had only a light campaign this season.
Nicky Henderson, trainer of Rather Be, Beat That, L'Ami Serge and Volnay De Thaix
Rather Be is an improving young horse. We could either come here or have top weight in a handicap so it made a lot more sense to come here. They didn't go quick enough for L'Ami Serge at Ayr last weekend so he didn't have too hard a race. Beat That's been off a long time and this looked a good race to bring him back in even if it is the end of the season. Volnay De Thaix's in good form. He's been off a long time too and is another we wanted to get out.