Trial hat-trick for The New One
The New One overcame his usual jumping errors to win the stanjames.com Champion Hurdle Trial for the third year running.
Sam Twiston-Davies riding The New One (far left) win the stanjames.com Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock
The well-supported outsider Clyne, moving out of handicap company, was given a bold sight under Adam Wedge, kicking clear off the home turn and quickly putting distance between himself and The New One and L'Ami Serge.
Just as the sprint developed, The New One did himself no favours when smashing his way through the third-last flight and at that stage it appeared that L'Ami Serge was clearly going best of the trio under Daryl Jacob.
L'Ami Serge was still travelling well as the trio came to the last and held every chance, but once again he didn't find anywhere as much as might have been expected and instead it was the rallying The New One who finished strongest and denied Clyne in a driving finish by a length.
In victory, 6/4 favourite The New One was taking his record outside of Grade One company to a remarkable 16 wins from 17 starts.
Cyrus Darius, returning to action after a season off with injury, finished back in fourth, while Fighting Fifth Hurdle winner Irving crashed out of the race shortly before halfway.
The New One has held a variety of possible options over the course of the season so far, but winning trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies said he was minded to go now for another tilt at the Stan James Champion Hurdle, the race in which he was an unlucky-looking third three years ago.
He remains a 25/1 chance with Sky Bet in their non-runner no-bet market for that race.
"He's a proper racehorse. The sort of horse we dream about," said the trainer.
"We've everything covered, but, at the moment, I think we are (heading for the) Champion Hurdle. It's worth another go, I'd have thought.
"We don't have to make our minds up yet though. We haven't even seen Annie Power or Faugheen yet, so let's see what they do and we can decide when we need to. If one of them comes out and looks simply unbeatable, we can take the other option."
His son and successful jockey Sam Twiston-Davies, on the other hand, is keener on a possible tilt at the Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle.
He said: "He never does it prettily when he comes here, but he always gets the job done.
"It's a long straight here and you're trying to keep something up your sleeve, but you know when you ask him for everything, hes going to give it to you. Three out he was messy and two out wasn't much better, so I went for the safe thing at the last.
"I'll get in trouble if Dad sees me offering my opinion. He won't talk to me if I say the wrong thing! But I just wonder whether his best chance of winning at Cheltenham might be over three miles rather than two."
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