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You remind me of someone: The New One has Champion claims

My most memorable Cheltenham Festival moment came in 2012 and assessing this year’s Champion Hurdle picture has resurfaced that fantastic moment of joy.

Rock on Ruby’s win in that year’s Champion Hurdle was my Barney Curley betting coup moment. I felt invincible after Noel Fehily drove the gutsy hurdlers over the line.

I won’t go into figures but that victory was the second leg of a bulky opening day double in which Cinders And Ashes had already delivered the goods in the Supreme Novice Hurdle. It’s pretty hard to forget a deadly double like that involving a 9/1 shot and a 11/1 chance. If only every day was as magical.

I’m waffling, I’ll get to the point. As we approach this year’s Champion Hurdle, it’s hard not to draw comparisons with Rock On Ruby and this year’s second favourite The New One, a horse that I’ll be backing at 3/1 on the day to go with my 8/1 ante post ticket.

Although in my view The New One is a far more electric animal than the 2012 winner, the similarities in terms of their make-up bode very well for a Champion Hurdle winning run.

First of all, the only horse to have won a Champion Hurdle in the last 21 years not to have had a run in that calendar year was Rock On Ruby and The New One comes into the race with that same fitness question mark.

Rock On Ruby’s previous run before the Festival in 2012, where he beat Hurricane Fly, came in the Christmas Hurdle. Strangely enough his defeat to the JP McManus-owned Binocular was scarily similar to the way in which The New One was also defeated by the green and white stripes of My Tent Or Yours at Kempton.

Both horses, who would be more suited to Cheltenham to Kempton, failed to jump the final flight with any vigour and that cost them victory as they went down by half a length.


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As it’s run over 2m4f stamina is guaranteed for successful horses that drop back in trip to contest the Champion.

Recent highest placed finishers in the Neptune to have undertaken the Champion challenge the following season have all run huge races.

Istabraq, Hardy Eustace and Rock On Ruby all won while Peddlers Cross, Danoli and French Holly all finished placed.

Let’s hope come Tuesday, I’ll be celebrating in the same vein as I did back in 2012.

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