3.00 Newbury: Hennessy Gold Cup (Grade 3 Handicap)
It’s great to see Bobs Worth back as a contender for a big race. His prep over hurdles when beating Simonsing was encouraging but I find it hard to trust him to back it up stepping up to 3m plus in a much tougher race.
Ante-post favourite Saphir Du Rheu has top credentials. His trainer knows what it takes to win the race. The six year old could still be on the up and looked striving on his seasonal debut. That says 11-12 is a tough ask and it needs a special performance.
I struggle to see why Smad Place is as short as he is, as in my mind he will struggle in a deep race like this off a big weight. If In Doubt has still not too many miles on the clock for a seven year; he could bounce back given he’s on a handy mark.
Ned Stark and The Young Master will enjoy this test of stamina in soft conditions. Both have fair credentials and could still have a bit more to offer.
Seemingly not too much love from the punters gets last years Hennessy runner-up Houblon Des Obeaux. True, his seasonal return late in October wasn’t all too encouraging, but also not completely off putting, given another crack at the Hennessy was always the target.
He was a fine second behind subsequent Grand National winner Many Clouds but is one pound lower rated today. If in the same sort of form he must have a big chance given he backed this run up with two other strong performances subsequently.
Houblon Des Obeaux @ 14/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win