Hurricane Fly 'the one we all have to beat'
Sam Twiston-Davies believes Hurricane Fly is still the one to beat in the Stan James Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.
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The New One, who is trained by his father Nigel, claimed Saturday's International Hurdle at Prestbury Park for the Naunton team, seeing off last year's Champion fourth Zarkandar in the process and securing his place at the head of the ante-post market.
He is just 3/1 with Sky Bet for the hurdling crown with Nicky Henderson's My Tent Or Yours generally next best ahead of last season's Triumph hero My Conor.
Hurricane Fly, who made a victorious return to action in Grade One company last month, is a best-priced 6/1 with Sky Bet to defend his Champion Hurdle crown but Twiston-Davies expects Willie Mullins' charge to be the major challenge to his mount.
He told At The Races: "Hurricane Fly (is the one to fear). He has done everything that can be achieved by a top-class hurdler. With what he had done, he's going to be very, very hard to beat.
"We have age on our side and at the same time I wouldn't swop my fellow for any of them.
"I wouldn't be worried about My Tent Or Yours. Obviously he's a very classy horse but I think we've all got Hurricane Fly to beat."
An early clash with My Tent Or Yours could be on the cards at Kempton on Boxing Day with Twiston-Davies snr weighing up the possibility of running The New One, although top priority will be priming the five-year-old for the big day in March.
"I don't know whether he will go to the Christmas Hurdle or not but Nigel's wanting to look at it. I think the plan would be to get him freshened up [after Kempton] and ready for the Champion Hurdle," said Twiston-Davies jnr.
"Obviously you would give him an easy time before, like he did between Kempton and yesterday. He had an easy time and then got him ready again. He went into the race fit and he very fresh as well.
"If he goes to Cheltenham in the same kind of form, you would be happy."