It's the 60th running of the Hennessey Gold Cup at Newbury this weekend. Alex Ward offers his tips on who to back in the big race.
The highlight of Newbury’s jumps calendar returns this Saturday with the 60th edition of the Hennessy Gold Cup. The race will be shown live on Channel 4 on Saturday, 26th November, with the action beginning at 3.10pm.
As ever it looks a fiendishly tricky betting heat with a host of unexposed second season chasers taking on some of the more experienced steeplechasers.
The market is headed by Colin Tizzard’s Native River who looks tailor made for a challenge of this nature. With bundles of stamina, efficient jumping and a stable in red hot form it’s not difficult to see why he is now as short as 5/1 (6/1 generally) for the big race. There is little to suggest that he can’t add to Tizzard’s recent Saturday successes.
Many won’t be comfortable backing the favourite, so for those looking at a bigger price I would suggest the 2016 RSA winner Blaklion (10/1 ew generally). Blaklion makes up for his lack size with a huge heart and he’ll still be jumping and galloping away when many others have shied off. He had a useful prep race at Wetherby a few weeks back and I expect a big run from the Twiston-Davies inmate.
The Hennessy is not the only highlight of the two day festival with Gold Cup favourite Thistlecrack set for his third test over fences and Nicky Henderson unleashing his much hyped youngster Jenkins in the maiden hurdle on the Friday.
Notebooks at the ready no matter what happens, though – these two days always prove to be very informative for the remainder of the jumps season.
A look back at the first 59 runnings of the Hennessy Gold Cup
The 60th running of the Hennessy Gold Cup is live on Channel 4 on Saturday, 26th November. Race off at 3.10pm.
Footage courtesy of Channel 4 in association with Hennessy cognac.
What to drink while watching the race
Hennessy have created a new cocktail for the day—the Hennessy Mandarin, made with fresh lemon juice, rosemary and orange infused gomme, pomegranate soda and a dehydrated orange slice and pomegranate seeds to garnish.
If you don’t fancy making one at home, they will also be served in the Winter Garden at the Four Seasons on Park Lane – and also in the sponsor’s VIP box on the day at Newbury on Saturday, should you happen to land yourself an invitation.