Johnson: One has Champion claims
Richard Johnson believes that The New One is capable of having a say in the finish of the Stan James Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Richard Johnson and The New One en route to winning the International Hurdle
The Champion Jockey stepped in for the injured Ryan Hatch aboard the eight-year-old on Saturday and the pair ran out comfortable winners of the International Hurdle.
Trainer Nigel Twiston-Daives had intended to send The New One chasing this season but the abandonment of Exeter led to him missing his scheduled debut, prompting connections to send him back over hurdles at the weekend.
Having impressed in winning the Grade Two for a third time, The New One is set to remain over hurdles this season and Johnson believes that can pay dividends.
"Ryan would have ridden The New One at Cheltenham on Saturday if it wasn't for what sounds like a pretty nasty injury. We're all hoping he has a speedy recovery," he told his Betway blog.
"The New One is a horse that I've seen loads of in the past, and it was great to finally ride him. I was taken by the way he picked up off the bend and carried on strongly up the hill.
"His jumping was also really good and he was a really straightforward ride. Whilst it isn't the strongest piece of Champion Hurdle form, he did it well.
"We had to give My Tent Or Yours 8lbs as well, so it was definitely a very decent performance.
"He's got a live chance in the Champion Hurdle and would be good value at the current big odds. When you look at what's going to run in the race, you'd be surprised if The New One wasn't there or thereabouts at the end.
"There's some talk of his chances over further in something like the World Hurdle come spring. He's won an Aintree Hurdle over 2m4f and the Neptune at Cheltenham over 2m5f, so there's every chance that he could stay three miles in the World Hurdle. Whichever race he runs in he should do very well."
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