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Monday 2 December 2013

Review of the Hennessy

The Hennessy Gold Cup had a terrific finish even tho' neither of my selections were involved in the finish.  Race winner Triolo D'Alene has come on in leaps and bounds over the past 9 months. Highly tried on his debut UK season 2011/12 after being imported from France, he showed promise but clearly needed more time. All seemed to click into place at Aintree last April when he won the Topham Trophy over the National fences despite making a number of jumping errors. He followed that up with another win at Huntingdon showing he had the stamina for a good-paced 3-mile. After a fair seasonal debut at Ascot, which we all possibly overlooked, he came into Saturday's race primed for a decent run and with stable jockey Barry Geraghty abroad. Quite where he goes now is a tricky one, as he's not quite good enough without a fair bit more improvement to be contesting the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March but he must be considered a Grand National contender for the 2014 race in April. Some may think he's blown his handicap, but I've always considered the Hennessy a great trial for the National and current odds of 20/1 look very fair considering we know the horse can handle the Aintree fences and stay well enough to win a Hennessy Gold Cup with 11st 1lb.
Runner-up Rocky Creek ran a great race and looked like running-on to take the prize at the final fence, but the extra 4lb stopped him. Providing he hasn't had his spirit broken in this race, I can see him improving a fair bit for the run. Yes, he was prepared for this Hennessy bid since April, but the Nicholls horses have all seemed to come on for a run the Autumn. Theatre Guide in 3rd was a bit of a surprise as I thought the horse didn't have the stamina for this race. Highland Lodge showed that he's come on again for his recent 2nd at Wincanton giving 26lb to the winner (Standing Ovation who has won again since). In 5th, Merry King ran another great race but probably needs further again; he's one for the Welsh National methinks.
It was always expecting too much of Invictus to run well in this race off such a long break. Personally, I thought it was a foolish decision to run, despite the possible handicap snip of his rating. There was a gallant run from old warrior Imperial Commander, and I'm glad he came out of the race unscathed. Of my selections, Katenko fell when still going well – I'm sure he'd have been involved in the finish. As for Loch Ba, there were possibly too many rivals in the race and he may fair belter in a smaller, less competitive field.
My other selection on Saturday, VINTAGE STAR at Newcastle went down by just a neck to the 10yo Hey Big Spender. There was no disgrace in being beaten by such a small margin by a horse who, on his day, is a grade 1 chaser. The OR140 rating for Hey Big Spender let the 10yo in lightly on a track which he'd won over C&D before. Seeing as he retains a fair amount of ability, Hey Big Spender could be set-up for a lucrative season in the "veterans" chases. There will be other days for VINTAGE STAR.
Finally, I'm getting very fed-up with the "broken" Racing Post website. I like to review racing and set my own ratings using the site, but the current problems Racing Post are having means that I'm not able to rate races and save the results. While I greatly respect Steve Mason's ratings (RPR) in the Racing Post, he can be swayed into the realms of "ratings inflation". Hence, why I like to keep my own ratings, especially for the top end of the chasing divisions.
No selections today

1 comment:

  1. In his own words Henderson runs his better horses at Ascot and when Triolo D'Alene finished 3rd FTO this season we all should have kept him onside and looked to the bigger plan.