Smad Place will be looking to join the greats with a second win
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Mark Scully 6:00PM 25 NOV 2016
THE Hennessy Gold Cup is one of the great races in the National Hunt calendar, its honour roll littered with legends of the game, so the question now is a simple one – who will be added to that list on Saturday?
It’s a tough one that’s for sure, but that does not mean the puzzle cannot be cracked with a bit of positive thinking and some effective studying.
In that spirit, let’s take a look at the race’s recent history to see what clues we can derive from those to have gone before.
Best to be handy
A look at the last ten renewals reveals plenty about where you want your chosen horse to be after the tape goes up.
This is not a race for hold-up types, with only Many Clouds in the last decade having not been at least prominent, so if the horse you are leaning towards typically needs to be produced late, it may be worth thinking again.
Upswing is one that would be expected to be in the rear, with the likes of Regal Encore and Henri Parry Morgan, whose winning tends to come with those tactics employed, others who may out the back.
Backers of ante-post favourite Native River, meanwhile, will be pleased to note the six-year-old is never far from the business end of affairs.
Course form important
Sticking with the last decade, the importance of experience around Newbury also catches the eye, with Madison Du Berlais, Carruthers and Smad Place all winning having previously contested a Hennessy without success.
Denman, of course, won the race in 2009 having also done so in 2007, while only Triolo D’Alene and Many Clouds claimed this great race without ever having raced at the course before.
Those lining up on Saturday who went round in last year’s renewal are Smad Place, Theatre Guide, Saphir Du Rheu and Houblon Des Obeaux.
No country for old men
This is not a race for the old-timers, with horses aged ten or older rarely coming out on top. Double Ross represents that brigade this time around and based on that, looks unlikely to spring a surprise at a big price.
Furthermore, despite dominating in the 1990s, nine-year-olds have only won once since the turn of the century and that was the mighty Denman in 2009