Its Hennessy Gold Cup day at Newbury, this year’s renewal looks fairly open but I would be surprised if the winner came outside of the top five or six in the betting. The favourite, Saphir Du Rheu trained by Paul Nicholls made an impressive seasonal debut four weeks ago whilst Mr Nicholls seems to rate the horse highly.
The handicapper has given Gold Cup winner Bobs Worth a chance, however I can’t have him on a return to chasing despite the horse showing plenty of ability is still retained with a win over hurdles last time.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see The Young Master go well at a price but the more I look at the race the more I keep coming back to the top two in the betting. Smad Place has the benefit of pipe opener this time around whilst Saphir Du Rheu could be the one horse in the race that might just be a lively outsider for the Gold Cup. I’ve backed the Nicholls runner to win and a few quid EW on Smad Place.
In the 2:25 at Newbury Whisper looks a worth favourite priced at 11-8. I’ve gone for Whisper as the World Hurdle winner Cole Harden is not an easy horse to get fit and also required a further breathing operation over the summer. Perhaps Thistlecrack is the main danger to Whisper this afternoon but I think the Henderson horse could take a bit of beating and he would be my best bet of the day.
Couple of others that should have chances, Lough Kent “3:35 Newbury” was full of running when making a race losing mistake two out at Cheltenham few weeks ago, a repeat of that effort and a clear round should see a run for your money.
Another horse that needs a clear round is Billy Merriott over at Doncaster in the 1:55. Priced at 5-1, Billy Merriott unseated his rider at Kempton at the end of last season and was brought down first run back at the same venue this time around. Harry Fry has his string in grand form at the moment and providing confidence isn’t affected compensation could await this afternoon.