Several novices advertised their Cheltenham Festival claims on Saturday afternoon, none more so than The New One in the Grade 2 novices’ hurdle at Warwick. The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained 5 year-old is now 8-1 second favourite with Totesport, Betfred and Stan James for the Neptune Novices Hurdle after spreadeagling the field in the 2m 5f contest retaining his unbeaten record over hurdles, in fact the son of King’s Theatre’s only defeat in seven outing came in last years Champion Bumper at the Festival when a respectable sixth behind Champagne Fever.
The winner was having his first outing for nearly three months, with the trainer saying: ” He seems to have so much speed and staying power and it’s a shame we haven’t really learned anything, as some of the others didn’t go in the ground and he wasn’t tested. He won but we still don’t know enough about him and that encourages me to have a look at the programme book and find another two-and-a-half-miler for him in order to give him more experience.”
The Paul Nicholls-trained Rocky Creek was an easy winner of the novice chase on the card and is now a top price 14-1 for the RSA Chase although Boylesports must have been mightily impressed as they are by far the shortest at 7-1 about the 7 year-old.
At Kempton L’Unique earned quotes of 20-1 for the Triumph Hurdle after winning the juvenile hurdle on the card for Alan King, whereas Tetlami survived a serious mistake in winning on his chasing debut against only two opponents but is now as short as 16-1 for the Racing Post Arkle but can still be backed at 25-1 with William Hill. The most impressive performance at the meeting however was achieved by Cloudy Copper in the extended 3m williamhill.com Novices Hurdle who gave 6lb and a beating to the decent chaser Hold On Julio. The 5-2 joint favourite is a general 14-1 shot for the Albert Bartlett but the Jonjo O’Neill-trained grey is by no means a certain runner at this stage.