The Hennessy Gold Cup Handicap, run at Newbury, is one of the most exciting betting heats of the entire National Hunt season outside the Cheltenham Festival and this year’s renewal looks a belting betting race.
The race itself in recent times has seen second-season chasers at the top of the handicap prevail over the less exposed youngers horses, with the likes of Denman, Diamond Harry and subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Bobs Worth all running out very gutsy winners of this prestigious prize.
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The one from that generation that is tickling punters taste buds this year is the Alan King-trained Invictus, who is an intriguing runner for the stable after being off the track for nearly two years.
The money has come for the strapping chaser, who beat Bobs Worth and Silviniaco Conti with consummate ease in the in The Reynoldstown Chase at Ascot before suffering an injury.
From a handicapping perspective King’s charge could well be thrown in off a mark of 145 as Bobs Worth ended up winning off a mark of 160. If that is the case then the 10/1 with Paddy Power could end up being one of the obvious bets of the year.
However, it’s last season’s RSA Chase winner, which always works out as a good trial for the Hennessey, Lord Windermere that has been the talking horse in the build-up to the race as the money has come in from Ireland in a big way. Jim Culloty’s charge is no bigger than 7/1 to follow up his win at the Cheltenham Festival with this prestigious prize.
The seven-year-old has been well-supported this week as his trainer has been banging the drum via all media outlets, although he would have liked to have given him a prep run ahead of Saturday’s trip to Newbury.
“He’s done plenty and is as fit as I can get him. He did a blinding piece of work last week at the Curragh and I couldn’t be happier with him,” Culloty told At The Races.
Fellow Irish raider Prince De Beauchene, who will be ridden by Ruby Walsh for the powerful yard of Willie Mullins has also been popular each-way at 14/1.
Our Father from the David Pipe yard is a horse on many people’s shortlist. He won a competitive Ascot handicap in December 2011, before winning at Cheltenham’s Open Meeting. A mark of 147 looks workable and he is certainly best when fresh.
He’s a 9/1 shot.