It’s one of my favourite weekends in the jumps calendar, featuring the 60th Hennessy Gold Cup down at Newbury.
You can always rely on this race to be fiercely competitive, with good horses taking each other on. The race in the past has been won by fantastic horses such as Burrough Hill Lad, One Man, Denman and of course the immortal Arkle, who carried the incredible weight of 12st 7lbs to victory twice back in 1964 and 1965.
This year’s renewal may not have an Arkle or a Denman in it,but it’s competitive nonetheless and plenty of horses stand a chance.
Native River has been the horse all my punters want to back in recent weeks and the addition of Champion jockey Richard Johnson has only added fuel to that fire. Trainer Colin Tizzard has won plenty of big races but this one still eludes him, and I’ll be wanting to take him on again.
Vyta Du Roc has been a popular selection also and Nicky Henderson has snuck him in at the bottom of the weights. The Seven Barrows stable know how to win this race too, so he can’t be overlooked.
Blaklion is an RSA winner at the Cheltenham Festival and if he can rediscover that form, he is a lively challenger for Nigel Twiston-Davies, as is Un Temps Pour Tout for David Pipe. The Pipe name needs no introduction to this race with four Hennessy’s already sitting on the crowded mantelpiece at Pond House.
Earlier on the Newbury card we get to see the sensational Thistlecrack again. The money continues to come for him for the Gold Cup so I’ll be keeping my eye firmly on him again ahead of March.
Newcastle has its Fighting Fifth Hurdle on Saturday and this race can get overlooked, but like the Hennessy, this is a competitive affair.
Sceau Royal looks a completely new horse this year with two wins on the bounce for Alan King and it is well worth noting that Daryl Jacob heads up north for the ride. Apple’s Jade and Petit Mouchoir are ready to raid for Ireland and the Gigginstown juggernaut should he slip up.
The Scoop6 was won last weekend by seven units so they’ll be playing for a massive £314,482 Bonus Fund this weekend. If they don’t win it, it could be yours next weekend!