Avant Tout: progressed well last season and heads the Hennessy market
PICTURE: Alain Barr
By Tony McFadden 2:37PM 26 OCT 2016
HENNESSY GOLD CUP favourite Avant Tout features among 58 entries for the prestigious handicap chase, which takes place at Newbury on Saturday, November 26.
Avant Tout, who is the general 10-1 favourite, progressed well over fences last season and his campaign culminated with an impressive success in a competitive-looking novice handicap chase at the Punchestown festival, which he won with a degree of ease despite making a mistake two-out.
Steve Massey, racing manager for owners the Supreme Horse Racing Club, said: “Avant Tout is in very good order and it is all systems go for Newbury.
“We think he will have a prep run at Naas on November 6 and then he will go straight there.”
The Willie Mullins-trained Avant Tout has yet to race beyond three miles but connections believe that the step up in distance to 3m2f, and the extra emphasis on stamina, will suit.
Massey added: “We feel he is more of a three-mile plus horse. We don’t think the trip will be a problem – he just stays and stays.
“He is only six and usually is a very good jumper. His form looks pretty good now as he beat Lord Scoundrel eight lengths (into fifth) at Punchestown, whilst giving him 7lb, and Lord Scoundrel went on to win the Galway Plate.
“We think Avant Tout is an exciting prospect and we will certainly know where we stand after Newbury.”
The weights, which will be revealed on Wednesday, November 9, are likely to be headed by 2015 Gold Cup hero Coneygree, who was set to contest the Hennessy last season prior to meeting with injury.
Last year’s winner Smad Place is also entered and could bid to become only the fourth dual winner of the prestigious race – following on from Arkle, Mandarin and Denman – which is contested for the 60th time this year.
Other notable entries include Native River, who is due to make his seasonal reappearance in the West Yorkshire Hurdle at Wetherby on Saturday, and RSA winner Blaklion, who is set to take on Native River’s stablemate Cue Card in the Charlie Hall Chase at the same meeting.