The Hennessy Gold Cup (Saturday 3.10) is one of Britain’s highest-profile handicap chases, with a first prize of £113,900. It takes place over 21 fences and just short of 3-miles 2-furlongs of Newbury Racecourse. Established in 1957, it was moved to Newbury in 1960, and only one horse has managed to win the race in consecutive years – and that was the mighty Arkle.
Between 1985 and 2004, only one horse carried more than 11-0 to victory, however in the 11-years since only two winners have shouldered less than 11-0. The last 11 renewals have been won by horses aged 6 to 9, with 7-year-olds registering 6 victories. Meanwhile, Nicky Henderson trained 3 of those 11 winners.
20 runners are set to go to post for the 2016 Hennessy Gold Cup.
Last year’s winner returns to try and be the fourth horse to carry top-weight to victory in the last 12 winners, but is officially rated 11lb higher this year, and must concede weight to some decent types. Did win by 11-lengths last year though so not ruled out.
Un Temps Pour Tout
10lb higher than when winning at the Cheltenham Festival, and much worse off at the weights with Native River and Vicente on their novice form from last season.
Usually much better in the spring and, though feasibly weighted on some of his old from, connections are probably more hopeful of him dropping a few pounds for later in the season if he doesn’t perform well.
Stayed on powerfully to pick-up Un Temps Pour Tout in a novice chase here last season, and seemed to go best of all for Richard Johnson when staying on powerfully to win the Grade-1 novice chase at Aintree. Ran well over hurdles on season debut and, as a 6-year-old, he could be even better this season in what could prove an ideal test.
Denman and Trabolgan won this after winning the previous year’s RSA Chase, and he looks fairly treated. Has a bit to find with Native River on their Aintree Form, but he had probably run better at Cheltenham previously.
Houblon Des Obeaux
Finished 9th, 2nd and 6th in this off higher marks, and could run well with just 10-8 on his back this time around.
Saphir Du Rheu
Sent off 9/2 favourite last year when trying to win off a mark of 163. Finished 5th then, but now only rated 153, and fully 21lb better-off with Smad Place. Yet to still convince he wants this extended 3-miles, but is weighted to go close.
Looks to have got away light with just a 5lb rise for winning the Scottish Grand National, and there’s no stamina doubts.
Henri Parry Morgan
Well-backed to win at Aintree, and 5lb better off for 3-lengths with Native River after finishing second to that re-opposing rival. No reason he won’t go close, but is already 8.
Previous winner off 147, but pulled-up off 157 last year. Rated 150 now, but connections have reportedly got one-eye on the Grand National.
Thoroughly unexposed after just 2 runs over fences, though a mark of 149 is 8lb higher than his last winning hurdles mark.
9lb higher than last win, and never really troubled the judge in three previous runs at the track.
Placed in the last two renewals off 139 and 145, and not hard to see him hitting the frame again off a mark of 149.
Galloping left-handed tracks are what he likes, but an 8lb rise for his career-best performance last time may scupper his chances in a better contest.
Strong galloper, but is another with the Grand National as a long-term target.
Never been the most consistent of performers, but showed up well in a handicap at the Punchestown Festival. Yet to prove he’s up to this grade though.
Put-up some nice performances as a novice, but trainer thinks he’s better going right-handed, and jumped that way when winning here last season.
Vyta Du Roc
Rated 7lb higher over hurdles when he was often a few lengths behind the principals in big races, which he’s mainly mirrored again over fences in the big novice chases. Handicapped accordingly though, and will surely win a handicap of today’s mark of 143.
Rated 7lb lower than when winning the Bet365 Cup, but has twice failed to complete in 4 attempts at Newbury, including a previous renewal of this race.
Looks a thorough stayer in the making, and may be one for one of the smaller Nationals later in the season.
2016 Hennessy Gold Cup Tips
A really interesting renewal, and Smad Place may find it hard to concede lots of weight to last year’s top novices, whilst the likes of Houblon Des Obeaux and Triolo D’alene, who have been here and done it all before, have theoretical chances at the weights. However, Native River looked to have improved when making his seasonal debut over hurdles, and this is expected to prove an ideal test for him.
Tip: Native River @ 6/1 with Black Type and several other bookies
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