The owners of Royal Reef had a good morning at Dan Skelton’s yard yesterday. We purchased this 4-time flat winner at the Newmarket sales in October, ex flat to go hurdling. Royal Reef is on his holidays now but will come into training early Next Year with the plan to be up and running in the Spring.
The facilities at the yard are something else.
The Hennessy Gold Cup is the feature on a great day of racing. The race look wide open, even the bookies don’t have much of an idea with the favourite priced at 6-1. There looks to be some good value EW bets to be had, although that’s not easy to say who.
My lucky pen has fallen on Smad Place priced at 11-1. This likeable grey won the race last year by a distance and galloped his rivals into the ground. Smad Place runs off a much higher mark this year, a whopping 11lb higher but if he gets his way up front he’s more than capable of getting his rivals in trouble.
Trainer Alan King has given the horse the all-important prep run over an inadequate two miles four at Aintree, Smad Place ran sound finishing 4th running on well.
Whatever the result of the Hennessy, Smad Place will give you a run for your money, 11-1 EW looks a fair price.
Newcastle stage the Fighting Fifth at 2:55.
I can’t forget the way Apple’s Jade won at Aintree and Punchestown, she looked top class on both occasions. Switched to trainer Gordon Elliott after the Mullins Gigginstown fall out, Apple’s Jade was a bit disappointing on her seasonal debut when beaten into 2nd.
However, that was her first start for new connections whilst the going might have been on the quick side, note the only other time she’s run on good ground resulted in defeat at the festival. I've taken the 9-4 on Apple's Jade I think she will get back to winning ways.
Elsewhere, I hear Nicky Henderson runs two nice horses that make their stable debuts this afternoon, Minella Rebellion 12:15 Doncaster and Domperignon Du Lys 12:35 Newcastle.