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Saturday 28 November 2015

Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury

A tremendous day of jump racing lies ahead, with 4 meetings at Newbury, Newcastle, Doncaster and Bangor. We therefore have a lot of opportunity to pick and choose our target races.

Before that, a look back at Friday's selections and unfortunately Maximiser fell when leading 6-out. Given that the fav Activial was easily beaten, had Maximiser completed the race I'm fairly confident that he'd have won this race. Next up was Upepito, and he gave us a great run, jumping the final fence in front before tying-up on the run-in to be 2nd. That was very disappointing. I did have a doubt over the trip beforehand, but thought he had so much in-hand he could counter that. As it happened, it's not stamina he lacks but a will to win.

Onto today's racing, and the ground is "heavy" at Bangor, so I'm passing that meeting over as (with heavy ground) results can sometimes be unpredictable.

Doncaster has an interesting Class 3 novice handicap chase over 2m3f at 1:55pm, and I'm drawn to the 6yo Katachenko who won his seasonal debut on 31st October (which was his 3rd chase race) and he looks a progressive horse. His rating of OR129 looks lenient as he looked like making OR135+ as a hurdler, and he stays this trip.  The ground will also be in his favour, and I will be watching this race with interest.

Newcastle has soft ground, and that may be too testing for many.
The feature race of the meeting is the "Fighting Fifth" Grade 1 hurdle over 2-miles, which has been won by some very good horses.  Last year, Irving won and he returns to try and repeat the victory. He certainly looks a better horse this season than last, but he's not the horse with the highest rating in the race; that is the Irish-trained Wicklow Brave. Personally, I think OR166 for Wicklow Brave is generous, and I have him about 10lb light of that - but he could (potentially) be a 160+ hurdler. I am more inclined to fancy the chance of the 4yo Top Notch sent by Nicky Henderson. Beaten just over a length last week, the 4yo is certain to improve on that run and I reckon he should reverse the places with Irving this time. Note than Henderson does not visit Newcastle often, and he has sent only 4 runners here since May 2011, and 3 have won!  Unless there is an upset, the others look outclassed and odds of 5/1 about TOP NOTCH look great value, and even offer eachway potential - those are the odds that were available when the email was sent out last night.

The next race on the Newcastle card is the "Rehearsal" Chase, a Listed handicap over 2m7f, and we have the eagerly awaited course return of Wakanda, who won for supporters of the blog LTO when we "lumped-on" the night before the race and secured the best value. The handicap is a cracker, and gives me plenty to think about, as I also have alert list horses Cloudy Too, BallykanSaroque, and Final Assault in the race. Personally, I cannot see Saroque winning at this level as his jumping will likely let him down. This will be too tough for the 5yo novice Ballykan.  Cloudy Too could run a big race, especially as the ground is soft but, for me, it is between Wakanda and Final Assault.  The trip of 2m7f will test the stamina of Final Assault and, as I think Wakanda could be capable of reaching OR155+ this season, and he has no stamina doubts, he is the selection. WAKANDA was available at 8/1 last night and those on the email list have taken those odds.

Newbury holds the feature race of the day in the Hennessy Gold Cup handicap chase over 3m2f.
I looked at this race earlier in the week, and sent out my preview of the race to those on the email list. Essentially, my thoughts are that Smad Place should be the favorite as I think he's potentially a 5-7lb better horse than last season. He's the horse I expect to win today, and odds of 15/2 offered by BetVictor and William Hill are tremendous value about a horse I think should be 4/1.
Houblon Des Obeaux won't be far away either, with conditions in his favour and a favourable handicap mark.  It is very difficult to see him not being in the 1st-4 and the 14/1 (available generally) is very fair. If Saphir Du Rheu wins today then he could be capable of winning a Gold Cup, but as I'm expecting a 160+ run from SMAD PLACE, the Saphir Du Rheu will have to run to 168+ to win this, and I'm not sure he's capable of that.  Both Bobs Worth and If In Doubt should be thereabouts, but their odds do not represent value. This years race looks a weak renewal, and the market leaders should come to the fore.

Newcastle 2:05pm TOP NOTCH, £5 eachway @ 5/1 (quarter-odds a place 1,2)
Newcastle 2:40pm WAKANDA, £5 eachway AND £5 win @ 8/1 (quarter-odds a place 1,2,3)
Newbury 2:00pm SMAD PLACE, £5 eachway @ 15/2 (BetVictor, William Hill quarter-odds a place 1,2,3,4)


  1. Fantastic assessment when breaking down your analysis of your chosen race.
    Always worth a read, and a second look when deciding upon your own analysis to come to conclusion as a bet or not.
    Today's results are a great example of your assessment and knowledge within the
    Sport Of Kings.

    Top Notch 2nd 9/2
    Smad Place Won 7/1
    Wakanda Won 6/1

    Check out my blog yorkshireracingbusiness.blogspot.com

    1. Nothing to add but to reiterate Simon's comments, great picks.