The Hennessy Gold Cup is just over two weeks away and it is well documented at how influential the Newbury race is on the Grand National.
As things stand 84 horses are declared and with top-weight Denman’s connections indicating that the former Gold Cup winner is a likely runner at Newbury, we could be faced with an unusual handicap. Currently only 31 of the horses declared would be in the handicap if Denman stands his ground and two of those, Snoopy Loopy and The Tother One, have already been declared as ‘doubtful’ runners.
Denman’s presence would undoubtedly have a great effect on the traditional view of this race and what we might look for in the merits of a prospective winner. We could be faced with the prospect of a number of horses running from some way out of the handicap and, personally, I tend to find races like this unsatisfactory as a betting medium. A recent example being the Scottish National won by Iris De Balme at 66/1 from 26lbs out of the handicap.
Nevertheless, as a starting point for discussion here are some basic trends which you may want to expand upon in an attempt for us all to find the winner of the Hennessy:
No winner in the last ten years has been older than eight (nine winners six or seven)
Only one of the last ten winners failed to finish in the first two last time out
Nine out of the last ten winners had winning form over fences over at least three miles
Eight of the last ten winners were second season chasers
Applying all of the above will almost certainly leave a very short list to work from with the likes of What A Friend, Killyglen and Russian Trigger to consider.
The big novice chase at the Aintree Festival has been quite a useful guide to the Hennessy and as that race was won by Killyglen last season he looks to have quite a lot going for him. Howard Johnson’s gelding was beaten on his reappearance recently but big things are expected of his victor that day, Knockara Beau, and as Killyglen was conceding 16lb and racing over just two and half miles we should, perhaps, not be too surprised by the defeat. Killyglen looks the best bet of the second season chasers and hopefully his yard will be in better form by the time of the Newbury meeting.
Taking a wider view, lots of horses appeal but a couple I like are Nenuphar Collonges and Treacle.
Nenuphar Collonges looked like he needed the run (like many Alan King horses this year) recently at Wincanton and at just three pounds higher than his near miss at the Cheltenham Festival he definitely has a big handicap in him if he can keep his jumping together.
Irish challenger Treacle was, I thought, more impressive than the neck winning distance would suggest when winning the Munster National and Tom Taaffe can win another big handicap with this horse but may well decide to stay in Ireland to try and achieve that. Take note if he gets into the race and does make the journey to England. He looks the type of horse that could end up at Aintree in the Grand National itself.
Who do you fancy for the Hennessy and could they possibly go on and win the Grand National 2010?
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