The Hennessy Gold Cup is often the most eagerly anticipated National Hunt race outside of Cheltenham for many purists and this season’s renewal looks set to be a thriller.
Native River heads the betting after following up his Cheltenham runner-up effort with a superb performance at Aintree. His reappearance behind Silsol at Wetherby on his return was a cracking effort over the smaller obstacles and that should see him spot on for Saturday.
Will he give Colin Tizzard another big Saturday winner after Cue Card’s tremendous effort last week? Possibly, but we’ll be cheering for a different result. Sorry, Colin.
A horse that Native River got the better of at Aintree, Blaklion, is a horse who can’t be ignore and he should also arrive in full fitness.
Nigel Twiston-Davies’ 7-y-o ran a nice enough race in the Charlie Hall, travelling strongly until fading in the home straight. He looked as though he was in need of the run but moved nicely and jumped well on ground that was less than ideal.
He has ran extremely well with plenty of cut in the ground, with a wide-margin win at Wetherby in February (with Native River 18l back in third) and a solid effort behind the classy Seeyouatmidnight in the Dipper suggested he may appreciate Saturday’s likely surface.
He put in a huge effort at Aintree, when third behind Native River, given how hard a race he had when outbattling Shaneshill to win the RSA at Cheltenham. He left little behind that day and he showed tremendous class to go as close as he did on Merseyside.
After a nice break, his Wetherby effort was enough to suggest he has retained plenty of ability, with the 3m 2f trip around soft ground on Newbury looking ideal. He will be allowed to gallop on in behind Smad Place and he can showcase his lovely jumping and strong-travelling characteristics.
At a current 10/1, he looks a solid each-way bet, especially with a number of firms offering five and in some cases, six places.
1pt e.w (Hennessy Gold Cup): Blaklion @ 10/1 (various, Paddy Power and Sky Bet paying 5 and 6 places).