The British challenge for the forthcoming Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival on March 11 looks to be growing stronger judged by the tremendous performance of both the winner, My Tent Or Yours, and the runner-up, The New One, in the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle at Kempton Park on Boxing Day.
In a race to remember, the two clear market leaders came away from their four rivals entering the final half-mile as Sam Twiston-Davies on The New One (8/11) raised the pace on a horse proven well beyond the minimum trip of two miles.
Tony McCoy, riding the Nicky Henderson-trained second-favourite My Tent Or Yours (6/4 in the racing betting), rode the Fighting Fifth Hurdle winner for a turn of foot, sitting in the slipstream of the leader as they met the second flight from home.
But as the pair raced upsides going to the final flight both jockeys were working hard on their respective mounts knowing that a good jump could make all the difference. McCoy got a fine leap out of his mount, but Twiston-Davies’ partner crashed through the last handing essential momentum to the multiple champion jockey.
That was the essential difference between the pair as The New One certainly wasn’t stopping and with his stamina kicking in was coming back at My Tent Or Yours. In the end Henderson’s charge prevailed in a thrilling finish by just half-a-length.
The fact that the first two came 28-lengths clear of last season’s Triumph Hurdle third and recent Greatwood Hurdle runner-up Sametegal puts the high-class form of the Christmas Hurdle into perspective.
The New One and My Tent Or Yours are now inseparable in the Betfair’s ante-post market for the Champion Hurdle at 4.2, with Ireland’s Our Conor (5.8) and dual champion Hurricane Fly (6.8) next in the Betfair list with the rest quoted at double figures.