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The New One has ideal mix of pace and stamina for Aintree Hurdle

Given an alternative, easier option would have been to run The New One in the Grade 1 Mersey Novices Hurdle at this meeting, it’s a show of the extreme confidence Nigel Twiston-Davies has in his five-year-old that he’ll likely take his chance against his more experienced foes and Coral have reacted accordingly with the Neptune Novices Hurdle winner their 5/2 favourite.

Those seeking any doubt as to whether or not his trainer had a handle on the nature of the task need look no further than the yard’s record in this race. Their sole entrant in the contest in the past decade was Khyber Kim, who won the event in 2010.

That he’s already been mooted as a Champion Hurdle horse for next season by rider Sam Twiston Davies speaks highly of his speed, which will be called into question far more over 2m4f on good ground on Aintree’s flat track than it was over 1f further on good to soft ground at Cheltenham.

Having previously beaten My Tent Or Yours – himself considered for this year’s Champion Hurdle despite being a novice – over 2m on good ground here at Aintree there is little doubt that he’ll not be inconvenienced by a zippier surface.

With the exception of two-time defending champion Oscar Whisky, 6/1, and Prospect Wells, 16/1, The New One is the only runner in the field with winning experience over 2m4f or further.

Zarkandar – currently 4/1 with Coral – took a crashing fall when travelling nicely enough early on in in this race last year, but has since won three of his four starts this season, capping off that run with a slightly disappointing run in the Champion Hurdle.

Trainer Paul Nicholls has decided upon the application of blinkers, last used when he raced as a juvenile in France, to rejuvenate his hurdler, stating the headgear “really woke him up” when brought in for recent work.