Ceebee previews Saturday's Hennessy Gold Cup and has bets on Thomas Patrick, Sizing Tennessee and The Young Master.
Ladbrokes Trophy 3pm Saturday Newbury 3m2f
Past winners and some of those who chased them home:
2015 - Smad Place was a reformed character having been tailed off in the previous Gold Cup. Had shown himself to be near-top class previously. Won his previous start and was fancied. Chased home by another handicapper who had dropped in the weights, Theatre Guide.
2016 – Future Gold Cup winner Native River, off 155, beat Carole’s Destrier – a handicapper who had dropped a few lbs. Favourite won and had a prep run over hurdles.
2017 - Another winning favourite coming in off a handicap win, Total Recall. The stereotypical second season chaser, beaten in the RSA, also coming into the race in form, Whisper, was a close second.
Small sample sizes but the last three winners were well fancied, all had a run and it was a good one. The quintessential Hennessy horse captures Native River and Whisper but all the others mentioned were genuine staying handicappers either on the rise or having dropped to a workable mark. Going back a few years the likes of Many Clouds, Denman and Bobs Worth were classy RSA horses. This year’s bunch of second season chasers don’t look like they’ll be future G1 stars.
The one’s I don’t like:
Kemboy – well beaten in JLT suggested he’s not a G1 horse – but he’ll need to be Gold Cup class to win this off 160. He beat nothing in his sole 3mile win so for me there’s still a question mark around the 3m2f trip. He was very much entitled to win the Clonmel Oil getting 6lbs off two 155 horses. A 3lb penalty for that won’t make this any easier. His Punchestown handicap chase win off 147 is arguably his best piece of form but Willie always has his string in peak order for that Festival. Pre-Christmas, not so much. Now a non-runner.
Elegant Escape – whilst this is his first handicap chase, he has given the handicapper every chance of getting him right by running (and trying) in eight novice chases. Plenty of the ‘typical Hennessy’ horses were far less tried in novice company. He was also found wanting in G1 company – beaten 12L at Aintree and 14L in RSA – he’s not winning a Hennessy off 155.
Ms Parfois – the extended trip and soft ground will suit. She was getting a mares allowance of 7lb when beaten 8L by Black Corton, when Rathvinden had too much for her in the 4miler and again when 2nd to Terrefort. Although arguably the best handicapped of last year’s novices I’m not convinced she has the quality. Plenty of front runners won’t make it easy and coming in without a prep is not a good move in my uneducated opinion.
Allysson Monterg – success has come in small field lower grade races and the yard is not going too well; impossible to fancy.
Black Corton – similar to what I wrote in more detail about Elegant Escape he didn’t miss a gig last year and we’ve loads of evidence to say he’s not a whole lot if anything better than this 157 rating.
Go Conquer – doesn’t get this trip (Grand Sefton winner)
Flying Angel – Dropped a full 15lbs in the weights before bouncing back to form with a decent 2nd at Ascot. The trip is an unknown but that and the forecast rain make it even harder to fancy him.
West Approach – particularly bad last time. Extra 2f unlikely to suit either based on weak finish over 3m at Cheltenham in October.
The one’s I kind of like:
Dingo Dollar is incredibly similar to Thomas Patrick (more on him later). Young and lightly raced, has also won around Newbury’s chase course last term. Has had a prep (okay effort overs hurdles), races prominently and has big field staying chase experience, this time from Ayr where he was beaten 1L. Wayne Hutchinson from the front – see Smad Place 2015. How his jumping holds up in a big field is a slight worry.
American – still on quite a stiff mark (154) from his novice season. Didn’t do enough last term to suggest he’s up to it but has had troubles so if they are behind him he could benefit from dropping 3lbs. Went off 5/1 for last year’s renewal. Yard are going well though and he did look a very smart staying chaser on soft ground in spring 2017 so a big run is possible.
Beware the Bear – has winning Newbury form from his novice chase season. He is making his seasonal reappearance but also did so on this weekend last season and won the Rehearsal Chase up at Newcastle. Ran fairly well when 4th off a 2lb higher mark in the William Hill Chase at Cheltenham back in March. Those who finished 3rd & 6th that day have already won handicap chases this season. Easy enough ignore his Scottish National effort – extreme trip on good ground at end of long season. Doesn’t have the sexy profile so will be an each-way price.
The ones I really like:
Thomas Patrick – young, lightly raced second season chaser who is a course & distance winner. Only saw his first chase in February of this year; an impressive winner that day and the 2nd is now rated 149 (Thomas Patrick runs off 148 here). Front runner with Richard Johnson up – see Native River in 2016. He was ½ length behind Elegant Escape on seasonal reappearance and meets him on 5lbs better terms. Has big field handicap chase experience winning at Aintree in April – something lacking from the Elegant Escape and Ms Parfois CVs. The yard has had a few winners this week. Ground, trip, track, fitness, the way he’ll be ridden from the front – so much to like.
Sizing Tennessee – A winner on his seasonal reappearance at Fontwell, the 2nd who was beaten 11L has won twice since. This has been the plan since and apparently had a school/gallop around here on the morning of the media launch. He had a poor first season over fences but made up for it last term with a 3m1f (good to soft) novice chase win. A close 2nd giving weight to Yanworth in a G2 and 3rd off 147 in a hot handicap also over 2m5f. Those three efforts tell us this trip, likely ground, current handicap mark of 148 and class are all okay for a Hennessy test. Ultimately well beaten in the 4miler when 3rd to Ms Parfois he did run well for a long way. Sizing has a 5lb swing (race-fitness and shorter trip on side) with the mare to try close the gap. His form has often tailed off in the spring so it’s easy ignore his Scottish National effort.
The Young Master – now runs off 139 (ran off 150 in the 2015 renewal) having picked up a 4lb penalty for his recent Cheltenham success. Coming into this race in form and race fit with no ground or trip question marks he must make the shortlist. Two from two this season, if back to his best he has another win in him. The 2nd to him at Chepstow has won since and they were strung out behind him in what was a competitive race at Cheltenham. An army of front runners won’t make it easy for everyone’s favourite dentist Sam.
Only the 13 runners now – the ¼ odds 4 places signs have disappeared and everything has been trimmed a few points – unfortunately this was a race to get involved in early (although don’t say that to Kemboy fans). Still I’m happy to have 3 plays on the day:
2pt win Thomas Patrick at 4/1 with Paddy Power and Betfair
1pt e/w The Young Master at 10/1 with William Hill and Paddy Power
0.5pt e/w Sizing Tennessee at 20/1 with Bet365