Horses running from our main list to follow
Newbury 12.30 – Helen’s Vision
Newbury 2.05 – Inglis Drever, Blazing Bailey, Special Envoy, Oscar Park & Chief Dan George
Newbury 2.40 – Denman, Abragante, Bible Lord, Character Building
Newbury 3.45 – Pevensey, European Dream & Manhattan Boy
Newcastle 12.40 – Berwick Law
Newcastle 1.15 – Shrewd Investor
Newcastle 1.50 – Tazbar
Newcastle 3.30 Blythe Knight, Katchit & Clopf
Towcesetr 12.50 – Cave Hill
Fairyhouse 12.55 – Big Zeb
Fairyhouse 2.05 – Tailor’s Hall
Newbury 12.30 – Cracking Cliché & One Gulp
Newbury 1.00 – Big Buck’s
Newbury 1.35 – The Tother One
Newbury 2.05 – Nevada Royale
Newbury 2.40 – Caribou & Bible Lord
Newbury 3.45 – Woolcombe Folly
Horses running from our “dark horses” list
Newbury 1.00 – Sir Bathwick
Newbury 2.40 – Always Waining
Newcastle 12.40 – Brook no Argument
Newcastle 3.00 – King Killone
Newbury 1.35 – Brinkmanship
Newbury 3.45 – Uffa Fox
Fairyhouse 1.05 – Cork All Star & Sizing Africa
Fairyhouse 2.10 – Glencove Marina & Hide the Evidence
I am going to attempt to cover both Saturday and Sunday tonight so if you are sitting comfortably etc…
I suppose I should start with the race of the weekend which is of course the Hennessy at Newbury where Denman carries top weight. There is no doubt that Denman is the class act in the field after going through his novice season unbeaten. I certainly wouldn’t rule Denman out but he does have a lot of weight and Paul Nicholls will presumably have left something to work on with him.
It is tempting to go for the veterans Sir Rembrandt and Strong Flow who are both thrown in on their best form. This race doesn’t tend to go to that sort of animal though. Of the more experienced types Juveigneur makes most appeal, especially if we don’t get significant rain. He clearly does not like the Grand National fences but if you ignore his runs at Aintree he has a good record in big races. He was second in this race last season, he was runner up in the “Whitbread” in 2005, he has twice been runner up at the Festival in the William Hill Trophy and he was 3rd in last season’s Welsh National. You can’t argue that he deserves to win a decent prize!
Apart from the obvious chance of Denman and the consistent Juveigneur there are 4 that catch my eye. Always Waining from the inform Peter Bowen yard, Bible Lord who should come on for his recent 4th but is 4 lbs out of the handicap and Abrigante and Character Building. The latter pair look well handicapped and are worth considering.
The two Irish raider Snowy Morning who will be partnered by AP McCoy and Patsy Hall look live dangers. The former would be particularly interesting if the ground becomes testing
The Hennessy isn’t the only big race on the Newbury card as the Long Distance Hurdle at 2.05 pitches together some of the likely contenders for hurdling honours come Cheltenham in March.
There are those that seem to want to write off the 8 year old Inglis Drever but I wouldn’t be in their camp. He is a very tough customer, has a 100% record over hurdles at Newbury and comes from an in form stable. With Blazing Bailey a little disappointing on his reappearance and Black Jack Ketchum not sure to relish a battle Inglis Drever could well defy his critics. At bigger prices both Special Envoy and Chief Dan George could be worth a close look. The grey Special Envoy was an unlucky loser when falling at the final hurdle last week when absolutely cruising. Chief Dan George took some notable scalps at the end of last season and as he comes from a small stable based up at Cartmel and will probably start at a fatterr price than he should as a result.
In the 3.15 at Newbury I like the chances of Nick William’s Majimar. He was second on his last outing at Cheltenham and AP McCoy has been booked to ride.
In the 1.35 Saintsaire aims to win the race for the second season in succession. He has not lived up to the promise he showed earlier in his career but I would still give him a tentative selection.
The 3 runners from our list to follow all have chances in the closing hurdle at Newbury. Manhattan Boy did not show much on his latest start but he is a horse I like and I would be inclined to stick with him each way.
There is also a top class card at Newcastle where some Champion Hurdle hopefuls clash at 3.30 in the “Fighting Fifth.” Katchit is a most likable sort, very nippy over his hurdles and with a great heart. The Irish raider Clopf would be all the better for his recent 4th behind Jazz Messenger at Punchestown while John Quinn’s speed horse Blythe Knight is very much respected after his impressive win at Aintree at the end of last season and his subsequent improved flat form.
It is very tempting to go for Katchit but 4 year olds have not won this event for heaven knows how long and that sort of statistic always worries me. If the ground rides good I would go with Blythe Knight.
The Newcastle 1.15 does not look a particularly strong contest and Shrewd Investor should go close. He should strip fitter for his recent run and he gets 3 miles well.
Both Berwick Law and Tazbar impressed on their last outings and I fancy them both for their respective engagements at Newcastle.
Cave Hill was a most impressive winner of a Hereford bumper a year ago but has since been sidelined with an injury. He is considered a very bright prospect by connections and is one to watch in the 12.50 at Towcester.
Nipping back to Newbury for a moment I am hoping that Helen’s Vision can win for my list to follow. This mare had some decent form in bumpers and is bred to make a hurdler. The big danger looks like being the well fancied Paul Nicholls runner Pasco, the winner of a 12 furlong handicap on the flat in May at Saint-Cloud.
Moving on to Sunday we have two runners from our list to follow in the Newbury opener at 12.30, Cracking Cliché and One Gulp. I think both should run well.
Paul Nicholls sends a strong team to Newbury on Sunday. Big Buck’s, Nevada Royale and Woolcombe Folly all come with big home reputations gained in France, the point to point field and a bumper respectively.
Nicholls saddles The Tother One in the 1.35. As the name suggests he is a half brother to the classy chaser Thisthatandtother and won a small race on his debut over hurdles 9 days ago.
In Ireland on Sunday I like the chances of Cork All Star in the 1.05 at Fairyhouse and Lasse Viern in the closing bumper at Clonmel.
Nap of the day
Saturday – Tazbar – Newcastle 1.50
Sunday – The Tother One – Newbury 1.35
The word “Cognac” was added to the name of the Hennessy Gold Cup in 1971.
What’s in a name?
Uffa Fox was a renowned Yachtsman and boat designer. When he died in 1972 his funeral as Cowes on the Isle of Wight was attended by the Duke of Edinburgh.