NAUNTON trainer Nigel Twiston- Davies was denied twice in quick succession during a feast of racing at Cheltenham trials day.
A record 18,208 crowd saw The New One pipped by At Fishers Cross in the Neptune Investment Management Neptune Novices’ Hurdle.
Twiston-Davies’ 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander (7-2) made an impressive return the race before in the Argento Chase but was just held off.
His 50-1 outsider Mad Moose finished second too but well behind Sprinter Sacre in the Grade One Victor Chandler Chase.
Jockey Tony McCoy celebrated a brace through At Fishers Cross and Mr Watson (11-4 favourite) with the latter winning the Steel Plate And Sections Handicap Hurdle for Temple Guiting’s Jonjo O’Neill.
For Twiston-Davies, Imperial Commander led in his first start for 680 days until Cape Tribulation (7-1) caught him late on.
The 12-year-old heads back to Cheltenham in March for a Betfred Gold Cup reclamation bid.
Twiston-Davies said: “If we’d been able to get him fit enough, he probably would have won.
“It was heartbreaking to see him mugged on the line but yet again he proved all his doubters wrong. It’s been so difficult getting him back with his splint problems but we have kept him swimming which made all the difference.”
The New One led over the last fence but McCoy guided home At Fishers Cross (13-2) who took the Grade Two event by a neck from the 4-5 favourite.
Twiston-Davies continued: “We will go for the Neptune and the Festival is going to be run on very different ground.”
Gallant Mad Moose finished 14 lengths adrift of the 1-5 favourite Sprinter Sacre after opening a big early advantage.
The Cotswold trainer added: “He was given 25 lengths at the start, which makes a difference, but he does stay well and that was a good run.”
Meanwhile, O’Neill’s Keep Kicking (9-1) won the Follow Us On Twitter At BetVictorRacing ‘Jumpers’ Bumper’ Division Two at Kempton.