My Tent Or Yours’ victory in the Christmas Hurdle propelled the JP McManus-owned gelding into joint-favouritism for the Champion Hurdle but, in suffering a slender loss, The New One did far more to advance his credentials.
In weighing up which of the pair is a better value 3/1 shot in the betting, the conversion rate of Christmas Hurdle victories to Cheltenham triumphs the following spring is telling.
The last horse to do the double in the same season was the legendary Kribensis, who did so in the 1989/90 season that saw him become the only horse ever to win the Fighting Fifth, Christmas Hurdle and Champion Hurdle in the same campaign.
Meanwhile Cheltenham victors such as Rock On Ruby have carried the laurels by reversing form with their Kemptonian conquerors.
Having lost to Binocular by a quarter-length at the Sunbury-upon-Thames track, Harry Fry’s marquee name soared home six-and-a-half lengths clear of the same rival at the Festival.
The two tracks are polar opposites.
Kempton is tight, flat and right-handed whereas Cheltenham is undulating, left-handed, galloping circuit.
As such the former suits only the speediest over timber, while failing to examine the balance and stamina of a racehorse in anywhere near the same way as Prestbury Park.
Despite being sent off hot favourite for the 2013 Supreme Novices Hurdle, My Tent Or Yours was outstayed off a searching gallop by Willie Mullins Champagne Fever.
It was a silver medal performance that while impressive, lacked the same effortless grace as the Newbury Betfair Hurdle victory which had earned him such betting prominence.
The New One on the other hand has won three of his four Cheltenham races over timber and fairly flew up the hill to land the Neptune Novices Hurdle over 2m4f this year.
Rock On Ruby – who the Twiston-Davies’ weapon KO’d by 10 lengths at Kempton on his seasonal bow – had been short-headed in the same race the year before his own Champion Hurdle win.
Yet if not for an error at the final obstacle which cost him valuable momentum (and jockey Sam Twiston-Davies his right iron) there would have been precious little in it at the finish in the Christmas Hurdle.
The second showed he had the pace to mix it with the winner on a track that was far more suited to his rival, and did so off an extremely charitable gallop.
Therefore, with the pair at 3/1 in the Champion Hurdle betting, it makes far more sense to side with The New One who is proven at Cheltenham where his Kempton conqueror is not.
After all the handicapper has him 7lbs better than My Tent Or Yours and just 3lbs shy of the great Hurricane Fly, the third member of Ladbrokes’ inseparable 3/1 trio.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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