Bob’s Worth‘s victory in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March certainly hasn’t done any harm to the belief that this weekend’s Hennessy Gold Cup Chase at Newbury is now more a Festival trial than an Aintree Grand National pointer. The great Denman, of course, won the race twice and proven class has become an increasing influence in the 3m2f handicap in recent years.
Lord Windermere is attempting to go down the Bob’s Worth route. A general 10/1, Jim Culloty‘s seven-year-old won the RSA Chase at Cheltenham in the spring and is at an ideal age to mount a challenge in the Hennessy whereas the stats are against fellow Irish raider Prince De Beauchene (14/1 with Boylesports and Stan James). Veteran Imperial Commander (26/1 on betfair) may also struggle against younger rivals and who’s to say if his fragile legs will survive this traditionally tough contest.
Rocky Creek has been popular in ante-post markets and is now a best 8/1. He beat recent Ascot winner Houblon Des Obeaux (33/1 on betfair) at the Berkshire course in February to complete a hat-trick. He had also had Super Duty (20/1 with Ladbrokes and Stan James) behind when third in a Grade 2 at Aintree in April and should confirm the form on 3lb worse terms. HIGHLAND LODGE was behind Paul Nicholls‘ chaser at Warwick in January but there are grounds for thinking Leighton Aspell‘s mount can have his revenge at Newbury and he looks the value at the 12/1 with Betfred, Ladbrokes and totesport.
Representing a yard that’s bang in form, Emma Lavelle‘s charge ran a cracking race behind the fast-improving Standing Ovation at Wincanton considering he was conceding 26lb to the race-fit winner. He is 11lb better off with Rocky Creek than at Warwick and did well to stay in contention for as long as he did that day considering the amount of mistakes he made. Normally a decent jumper, Highland Lodge has the beating of Our Father (a general 10/1) on Cheltenham running last year and rates a cracking bet.
Invictus‘ defeat of Bob’s Worth two years ago read well and the fact that he’s only a general 10/1 suggests a big run is expected following a lengthy absence. Katenko (a general 14/1) came good at the start of the year but hasn’t raced since January while the trip may be too far for Cloudy Too (25/1 with BetVictor and 888sport) and Theatre Guide (70/1 on betfair). But Triolo D’Alene (a general 20/1) might have each-way claims .