Big race form guide
Hennessy Gold Cup
The traditional approach to this race is to look at the second season chasers as they have dominated in recent years. I don’t want to be too blinkered though so I will start with a look at some older horses. Great Endeavour is looking to complete the Paddy Power/Hennessy double which has not been achieved too often. The doubters say is stamina is suspect but I am not sure about that. He won a point to point over 3 miles in 2008 and was third over 3 miles one and a half furlongs a couple of years ago beaten less than a length. He only has a 4 lbs penalty for winning at Cheltenham and has to be a danger. Planet of Sound is very much a good ground horse and could be given a chance on the basis of his win in the Punchestown Guinness Gold Cup 3 runs ago. He has had breathing problems and comes here after quite a lengthy absence. One that needs to defy an even longer lay off is Michel le Bon. What worries me about this horse is his lack of experience over fences; he has only run once over the larger obstacles2 years ago winning a 4 horse race where only 2 finished. He has previously won twice over hurdles, once at Newbury, but his lack of experience plus the long lay off would tend to put me off taking a short price about him.
The 4 younger horses with the right profile are Sarando, Wayward Prince, Aiteen Thirtythree and Wymott. Sarando comes here on the back of a win at Carlisle and his 2nd to Quito de la Roque at Aintree last season reads well. He may need more give in the ground to show his best form. Wayward Prince has decent claims on his 3rd in the RSA chase but I marginally prefer the other two. Aiteen Thirtythree has won at Newbury twice. He suffered from sore shins last season and may be capable of better than he has shown so far. Wymott won 3 times over fences last season before pulling up in the RSA Chase with an injury. He could be on a reasonable handicap mark.
Bangor on Dee
12.10 Peddler’s Cross will be expected to continue his progress over fences here with Minella Class the one most likely to benefit should the favourite disappoint.
1.55 Placed twice in bumpers Grove Pride created a good impression when 2nd on his hurdles debut at Carlisle. Salomo won over 12 furlongs twice on the flat in France and has shown signs of ability over hurdles. He is upped in trip here and is certainly respected. The other one to consider is Sydney Paget who won a bumper at Carlisle earlier in the month.
2.25 Peckhamecho won over hurdles at Ffos Las with Salomo back in 3rd.The Weatherman won a Kelso bumper last month and is rate highly by his trainer.
3.35 Scolastica stayed on well to win a Uttoxeter bumper in April on good ground.
12.20 Horsham Lad a winner of point to points and a hunter chase scored on his handicap chase debut at Carlisle last month and could still be ahead of the handicapper. Meet the Critics could be fancied on his course win in March but has disappointed in 2 runs this season.
12.55 All the Aces won the listed Fred Archer Stakes at Newmarket and could eb useful at the winter game if taking to hurdling.
1.30 Our Island is an Irish points winner and has won at this track. In with a chance here but may need further on soft ground.
2.05 Rock on Ruby has a taking attitude and won twice over hurdles including once at this track. Only beaten on the line by First Lieutenant at the Cheltenham Festival having earlier finished 2nd to today’s winner Bob’s Worth at Cheltenham. First Fandango has been in good from already this season in 3 starts, winning on his last outing at Leicester. Ultravox is another to consider. He notched a hat trick over wins last season and his stable has been in good form. He is well suited by good ground.
2.35 Big Bucks should not be troubled to continue his winning sequence.
3.10 See big race form guide.
3.45 Coup Royale has been difficult to train but has had a wind operation since winning impressively at Kempton in February and could be the answer here.
12.00 You couldn’t safely rule any of the 5 runners out but I will take a chance with Aikman who has run well on both his starts over fences and can make that experience count.
1.10 Theatrical Star is quite a big price here given his level of form. Stamina may be an issue. Could run well at a decent price though.
2.20 Binocular has been beaten first time out the last 2 seasons and it may pay to side with Overturn who has already shown that he is in good form this season.
3.30 It could well be worth taking a chance on Captain Americo who is well handicapped over fences compared with his hurdles rating.
Towcester 12.25 Mister Hyde might have won had he not fallen at Market Rasen last time and is worth another chance.
Gowran Park selections; 12.15 Canna: 12.50 Jenari and 2.30 Gates of Rome.
Nap of the day
Rock on Ruby
From the archives
Celestial Gold was the last horse to do the Paddy Power/Hennessy double in 2004 for Martin Pipe. Future Grand National winner Comply or Die was 4th in the Hennessy the following season in a race won by the Nicky Henderson trained Trabolgan. Denman won both the 2007 and 2009 renewals carrying 11 12 both times.
Cloncarrig was a faller in 6 consecutive Grand Nationals.
My thanks to Lisa Miller for the picture of Denman, one of the Hennessy Gold Cup greats.