Hennessy Gold Cup

Hennessy Gold Cup

Open to horses aged four years and older, the Hennessy Gold Cup is one of the key races of the national hunt season and the 2014 renewal looks set to be as exciting as ever. Due to be run at Newbury Racecourse on Saturday 29th November, the 2014 Hennessy Gold Cup is set to feature 2012 winner Bobs Worth who will be bidding to put a disappointing run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup behind him where he could only finishing fifth when strongly fancied to repeat his win of twelve months prior. Nicky Henderson’s charge was sent off as the 6/4 favourite for the Cheltenham showpiece but he never really picked up when asked by jockey Barry Geraghty. The result was somewhat of a shock as the first three home in the Gold Cup were all available at double figure odds, and it may well be that the 2014 Cheltenham Gold Cup was just one of those races. The layers on Betfair are obviously willing to forgive the bad run from Bobs Worth as he’s currently on offer at odds of around 11/2 on the betting exchange. Bobs Worth will clearly be burdened with top weight, but his previous winning form at Newbury will stand him in good stead come race time.

The Paul Nicholls trained Rocky Creek was one of the most exciting horses to hit the elite chasing scene last season and he made good progress, stepping up from a successful novice campaign. Although Rocky Creek has been unable to get a win under his belt since February 2013, his second place finish in last year’s Hennessy Gold Cup is real top class form and a repeat of that effort would see the eight year old go close once again. This bay gelding ended his campaign by finishing in fifth position in the Aintree Grand National, and assuming that hasn’t taken its toll on the horse, Rocky Creek will be in the thick of things at the business end of the Hennessy once more. The Nicholls runner clearly goes well fresh and he looks likely to head to Newbury without a run under his belt which might actually be a positive thing. Rocky Creek is available at odds of 7/1 over at betfair.com.

Another runner who has been put in at odds of 7/1 by the Betfair exchange layers is the talented second season chaser Le Bec. Emma Lavelle’s horse come into the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival as a 10/1 shot and was well in touch when coming to grief four out. I believe this son of Smadoun would have undoubtedly finished among the placed horses had he stayed on his feet and he could be dangerously well handicapped in a race the nature of the Hennessy Gold Cup. Looking at Le Bec’s form prior to the RSA, he managed to win two novice chase events before finishing second to the useful Sam Winner in the Ryman Stationery Novices’ Chase. The six year old lost nothing in defeat however, as he was attempting to give the winner eight pounds in weight and only went down by four lengths. With just four starts over the larger obstacles thus far, I’d expect to see Le Bec improve during the new season and could well be up to running a big race at Newbury.

There doesn’t appear to be any particularly strong trends as far as the Hennessy Gold Cup is concerned, other than the fact that there hasn’t been a winner aged older than nine since 1981. This will be partly due to there not being a huge number of horses taking part in the race aged over nine, but it is still something worth bearing in mind when making your Hennessy selections. Three horses has won the Hennessy Gold Cup twice, the most recent of which was the mighty Denman in both 2007 and 2009. Eight different winners of the Hennessy have gone on to taste victory in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, an accolade which belongs to this year’s favourite for the race, Bobs Worth. It will be interesting to see whether the 2012 winner can become only the fourth horse to complete a Hennessy Gold Cup double for trainer Nicky Henderson. 

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