Hennessy Gold Cup Chase Tips & Betting Preview

The Hennessy Gold Cup is a Grade 3 contest at Newbury on the 2nd day of the bet365 Festival. Ran over 3m 2f for the sum of £200,000, it is one of the biggest tests of horse and jockey, with a prestigious honour role including Arkle and Denman. Won last year in superb style by Smad Place, this years renewal promises to be another cracker.

The current hot favourite is NATIVE RIVER (11/2 Ante Post) who has strong claims to the race. He had a very successful campaign last year that culminated in a good 2nd behind Minella Rocco in the National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup. He then went to Aintree to close off the season where he won gamely, beating the RSA winner Blacklion, which was a great run. He’s returned this season with a pipe opener at Wetherby over in the West Yorkshire Hurdle, running with credit in 2nd over a trip that was probably too short. Conditions should be perfect for him at this stage and he is rightly one of the main contenders for the contest, as he will keep on galloping remorselessly towards the finish.

SAPHIR DU RHEU (9/1 Ante Post) has been steadily backed after a decent seasonal reappearance at Ascot in the Sodexo Gold Cup, staying on well and nearly snatching 2nd on the post. He was disappointing in this race last year, sent off 9/2 favourite and weakening on the run in to finish 5th, around 22 lengths behind Smad Place. He’ll need to come on for that reappearance which he may well do, but he does oblige to disappoint, so caution is advised.

UN TEMPS POUR TOUT (10/1 Ante Post) won the Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3) at The Festival back in March and returned with an all the way victory at Aintree, and holds VYTA DU ROC on that effort. Its hard to assess what that form is really worth as it was over hurdles and both their reappearances. He holds a good chance either way as he is closely matched with NATIVE RIVER, but he may well come up short against some of these.

We couldn’t do an Ante Post article without mentioning SMAD PLACE (11/1 Ante Post), who won this race last year in brilliant style. He’s a bit of a mixed bag nowadays, and although the Hennessey seems to bring out the best in him, others have more compelling claims and he could be vulnerable in this years renewal.

Of the outsiders, VICENTE (25/1 Ante Post) could be interesting after winning the Scottish Grand National when last seen. This trip shouldn’t be an issue for him and could be a lively contender for Paul Nicholls. Finally, a mention is given to HOUBLON DES OBEAUX (33/1 Ante Post), who loves Newbury and finished 2nd in the race at odds of 50/1 back in 2014 behind Many Clouds. He’ll have to be fully revved up to take this but could be a potentially good each way option, as Venetia Williams’ string are starting to hit form as the ground softens up.

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