Hennessy Gold Cup Betting Tips 2016

hennessy-gold-cup-betting-tips-2016

A potent force over the larger obstacles Un Temps Pour Tout has a strong chance in the Hennessy writes the Oddsguru

Hennessy Gold Cup Chase (Handicap) 3m2f Newbury Saturday – First run in 1957, the race has been won by some of the greats of the Winter Game, including Arkle, (twice) Burrough Hill Lad, and more recently Denman, (twice). With eight individual Cheltenham Gold Cup winners, and many more outstanding chasers, on the roll of honour, it is advisable to look for a young horse, on the upgrade, who has performed at a high class level in its first season over fences.

arkle-hennessy

The great Arkle claimed two Hennessys: in 1964 and again in 1965.

Older animals have a particularly poor record in the race, and we have to go back to 1981 to find a winner older than nine. (Doesn’t bode well for 10yo Double Ross). With three winners apiece, training honours are shared by Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls and both are again represented by highly creditable candidates. A man who has never won the race, but did train last year’s runner up, Theatre Guide, is the amazing Colin Tizzard and his upwardly mobile 6yo, Native River heads the market.

A thoroughly genuine type, as his record of six wins and six places from his fifteen starts bears eloquent testament to, he ran his usual solid race on his reappearance in a 3m Wetherby Hurdle four weeks ago. Having his first run for nearly seven months he stayed on strongly to finish 2 3/4L second to Silsol, with the very useful Lil Rockerfeller 1/2L back in third. Second in the 4m National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, he won the 25f Grade1 Novices Chase at Aintree 24 days later under a great ride from Richard Johnson. He won by 3L and 3 3/4L from Henri Parry Morgan and Blaklion, and with the same man doing the steering on Saturday, the Tizzard horse looks a worthy favourite. A definite reservation would be heavy ground as he had no answer to Blaklion in those conditions at Wetherby in February.

The latter’s trainer, Nigel Twiston-Davies, I’m sure would be more than happy to see the heavens open, as his Cheltenham RSA winner handles heavy conditions better than most. Not that the talented 7yo needs such conditions as we saw in that epic performance at the festival, when he outbattled Shaneshill on good ground. Blaklion made a perfectly satisfactory reappearance in the “Charlie Hall” four weeks ago, finishing 4th, and while he does seem to have some leeway to make up with Native River on Aintree form, I suspect that the Twiston-Davies horse found that race coming too soon after his Cheltenham exertions. Given soft ground I can see This relentless galloper making a big impression.

The Paul Nicholls trained 7yo Saphir Du Rheu was sent off favourite for last years renewal, racing off a mark of 163, but didn’t seem to quite get home, and finished 5th, beaten 22L. It was a similar story for the rest of the season, seeming to struggle in the closing stages of his races, but there were signs of a revival at Ascot last time on his reappearance after a five months break. At the Berkshire venue, four weeks ago, he responded well to pressure from three out, and staying on strongly, nearly snatched second on the line in what was a strongly run race. If his problems are indeed behind him, he looks nicely treated on a mark 9lbs lower than last year, and could provide the Ditcheat handler with a fourth success.

Smad Place put up a sparkling performance last year, when, jumping like a stag, he came home 12L clear of his field off a mark of 155 to leave Oddsguru readers celebrating.

smad-place-hennessy

Could the galloping grey stage a repeat of last year’s success?

Taking it up at the 10th fence, he was never headed afterwards, and went into many notebooks as a Gold Cup possible. However, after coming home in front, in what was a real slog in the Cheltenham mud in January, he disappointed in the Gold Cup, and may well have been feeling the effects of that attritional January contest. Retired for the season he made a satisfactory reappearance at Aintree 34days ago, finishing 4th, over an inadequate 20f. As the great Arkle, over fifty years ago, was the last horse to win back to back Hennessys, Smad Place with top weight,  clearly has his work cut out on Saturday, but it’s just possible that we have yet to see the best of Alan King’s charge, and it would be great to see the galloping grey do a repeat.

The prize has gone back to the Nicolashane yard on four occasions, (three for Martin and one for David) and there must be plenty of optimism down Somerset way that the talented 7yo, Un Temps Pour Tout can bring home a fifth. A top class staying hurdler in France, winner of a Grade1 3m1 1/2f contest on very soft at Auteil in June 2015, he showed that he was going to be an equally potent force over the larger obstacles, when winning easily at the Cheltenham Festival, off a mark of 148, on only his fourth run over fences. He had the very useful Holywell 7L back in second,and the Young Master a further 9L back in third in the twenty three runner contest. He was found to be lame behind, when finishing 4th in Native River’s Aintree race three weeks later, but demonstrated his wellbeing when taking an Aintree Hurdle on his reappearance twenty one days ago. This very progressive animal handles any ground and is particularly well suited by soft so has to be on the shortlist to give the Pipe yard a fifth success.

Peter Bowen’s 8yo, Henri Parry Morgan was a useful staying hurdler, achieving a rating of 129, but has really come into his own since tackling the larger obstacles, and is now rated 150 in that discipline. Mind you, both initial attempts over fences were less than promising, finishing last at Bangor, and unseating over course and distance last December. However next time, equipped with a tongue tie, he showed what he could do, storming home from the subsequent winner, Bear Rails in a Chepstow Class 3 handicap. Raised 13lbs for a Uttoxeter Class2 three weeks later, he repeated the dose, coming home 15L clear of Delgany Demon. Upped to Grade1 level, in Native River’s Aintree race he was beaten 3L but reopposes on 5lbs better terms at the weekend. Having travelled well, he unseated at the 19th when favourite for the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in April and was put away for the season. This 8yo is bred to stay “forever”(by Brian Boru, out of an Over the River mare) so if conditions are testing on Saturday, would be worth considering.

Selection: Un Temps Pour Tout.
E.W.       : Blaklion.

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Doom Bar Celebration Mile Betting Tips

Doom Bar Celebration Mile (Group2) Goodwood Saturday – There have been thirty eight renewals of the Celebration Mile since it’s elevation to Group2 status in 1977 and the classic generation, with 23 wins have definitely had the best of the argument. Sir Michael Stoute has trained the winner an impressive eight times, and on five of those occasions it was a 3yo who gained the honours, so his representative this year, Thikriyaat has to be of interest.

A 3yo gelded son of Azamour he has won four of his five races commencing with an All Weather victory over a mile on his sole 2yo appearance. Dropped back to seven furlongs for his reappearance at Newmarket in April, he won gamely from Tabaarak, who won next time out. Stepped up to Cl1 level for his next race, (7f Newmarket Gd-Fm May 14) he won again in solid workmanlike fashion. In his next contest he was sent off an 8/1 shot in the highly competitive Jersey Stakes (7f Sft) at the Royal Meeting. Despite a difficult passage he finished a highly commendable second, (beaten 2 1/2L) to the subsequent Deauville Group1 winner, and the close third to the Gurkha in the Group1 Sussex Stakes, Ribchester. Stepped back up to a mile over Saturday’s course and distance, (Gd-Fm) twenty nine days ago, he won again in his hallmark, tough, workmanlike style, and this doughty competitor, who seems to handle most conditions, looks the type who will be hard to beat at the weekend.

Clive Cox won this last year with a progressive 3yo, Kodi Bear, and is trying for a repeat with a similar type in Zonderland. This son of Dutch Art won a listed race at Sandown, (1m Gd-Fm) in May, and was then pitched in at the deep end when asked to tackle Group1 company in the Prix Jean-Prat at Chantilly six weeks later. He finished an abysmal eighth of nine, out the back, but showed he was back on track next time, when winning a Salisbury Group3 (1m Gd-Fm). The form doesn’t amount to a great deal but it does show the Cox contender is going the right way and suggests the Chantilly race can be ignored.

Richard Hannon’s admirable 5yo Toormore’s score is two wins and a place from four Goodwood appearances, and he put up yet another fine course performance last time, when finishing fourth to The Gurkha in the Sussex Stakes thirty one days ago. Both his course wins have been over 7f, but having won a Group2 contest over Sandowns stiff mile there are no stamina doubts. One of the leading two year olds of his generation, and a winner of the Group1 National Stakes at the Curragh, Toormore is still an entire, and connections must entertain hopes of this son of Arakan joining the stallion ranks when he eventually retires from the track. It will come as no surprise to see him involved at the finish so long as “firm” doesn’t appear in the going description, as he hasn’t won on ground faster than good.

Another contender at the weekend who would prefer good or softer ground is the William Haggas trained 4yo colt Hathal. Bought at the “Breeze-Ups”for the hefty sum of 320,000gns, he has yet to justify his mega price tag, but did show signs in his last two runs, that suggest it might be in the right ballpark. He went down to My Dream Boat by 2 1/2L in a 1 mile York handicap (Aug 21 2015) when giving the winner 7lbs, but the subsequent career of the victor has shown what a good performance that was, as My Dream Boat is now rated fully 30lbs higher. Hathal went on to take a Newbury listed race four weeks later (Sep 18 2015 7f Sft) but has been off the course since. It is a big ask to expect the Haggas horse to win as competitive race as this after a break of 344 days but his talented trainer is a past master at producing them at their best after a long absence, and it will not be a great surprise to see Hathal repay another slice of that large purchase price.

Having won the Group3 Diomed Stakes in June 2015, the Group2 Summer Mile the following month and finished a close second to Solow in the Group1 Sussex stakes a few weeks later, the future looked bright indeed for Peter Chappell-Hyam’s now 5yo, Arod. However in his next five races the wheels seem to have come off, and apart from a respectable display on his reappearance, the rest has been very disappointing. However the stable has been going through a prolonged period of underperformance which has to end sometime, and they obviously haven’t given up on their talented son of Teofilo. Certainly if this 5yo entire could bounce back and repeat his fine performance in last years Sussex Stakes he would be a danger to all.

Selection: Thikriyaat

E.W. : Toormore

Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase Tips

Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase Tips – 3m2 1/2f 70y March 18th.

This year’s race looks to be one of the most open, competitive, and exciting renewals, since Major Wyndham’s 5yo Red Splash stormed up the hill to beat Conjuror by a head in the inaugural running of the great contest way back in 1924. Team Mullins is mob handed at the time of writing and at least four of them have to be considered, Djakadam, Don Poli, Valseur Lido, and Vautour. Add to these top class animals the wonderful Cue Card, in line for a £1,000,000 bonus if successful, Alan King’s grand warrior Smad Place, and top rated of them all, Gordon Elliot’s 9-y-o Don Cossack (pictured above), and we must surely have one of the most intriguing contests of the modern era in prospect.

Read some of last year’s Cheltenham Festival tips from the Oddsguru.

What a great performance for a 6yo, Djakadam put up in last years contest when finishing second to Coneygree! Always up with the pace, and maintaining a relentless gallop throughout, he had every chance but hit the last and lost vital momentum. He got back on an even keel and stayed on again to secure second place. After such a hard race for a young horse, many felt that stumps should be drawn for the season, but he was back in action six weeks later, and ran well finishing second, seven lengths behind Don Cossack in a Grade1 at Punchestown. He put stable companion Valseur Lido firmly in his place when reappearing at Punchestown in December (2 1/2m) and was then sent off the hot 5/6 fav to take the BetBright chase at Cheltenham in January. He travelled well but blotted his copybook at the 10th taking a nasty fall leaving a suturing job necessary on his chest. It has hardly been the ideal preparation but last year’s performance for a 6yo was outstanding, and it would come as no great surprise to see Rich Ricci leading this one in to the winners enclosure.

Also sporting the Ricci colours is the exciting 7yo Vautour. Going down by a head to Cue Card in the King George, he looked the winner coming to the last, but couldn’t resist the late challenge of the Tizzard horse. However his tendency to jump left was no help and he is definitely a better performer going anti-clockwise. The memory of his victory in the 2014 Supreme Novices hurdle, where he led the field a merry dance, remains fresh in the memory. He won by a long looking 6L and beat the great Istabrraq’s course record into the bargain. He also never put a foot wrong when cruising up by fifteen lengths in last years JLT over 2 1/2m at the Festival, running on strongly up the hill. While there must be some doubts about his stamina credentials, this four times Grade1 winner is the class act in the field, and given decent ground is going to take a lot of stopping.

Like stablemate Vautour, Don Poli boasts a 100% course record having won the RSA last year and the “Martin Pipe” the year before. His failure behind Valseur Lido at Punchestown six weeks after Cheltenham last April was too bad to be true and is easily excused. He has won both outings this season in workmanlike fashion, most recently the Lexus, where he had to work hard to get the better of First Lieutenant. He is an animal that races very lazily and it is hard to know how good he is. However you don’t win three Grade1 contests without plenty of talent, and his win in the “Martin pipe” demonstrated how much pace he has. He has had an ideal preparation and goes to post a fresh horse who is guaranteed to stay. If it turns into a real stamina test he must have great prospects of giving Willie his long awaited first win in the race.

There would be no more popular winner should Cue Card add this to his Betfair and King George victories and bag that £1,000,000. bonus. He is another about whom there have been stamina issues in the past but following a “breathing” operation is enjoying some thing of a renaissance. He certainly hasn’t been stopping at the business end of his three starts this term, and as we saw, outstayed Vautour at Kempton. It is hard to believe that it is six years since he flew up the hill to win the Champion Bumper and three years since his victory in the “Neptune” but if he really does stay he could be the first ten year old since Cool Ground in 1998 to collect.

Many observers feel that Gordon Elliott’s 9-year-old Don Cossack might have won the King George but for coming down at the second last, where having run indifferently for most of the race, and not the recipient of the greatest of rides, he was just beginning to stay on, and had gone into second place when falling. He got back on track last time with a facile win at Thurles and if back to the form that saw him beat Djakadam by 7L and Cue Card by 26L in Grade1 chases at Punchestown and Aintree last April, this five times winner at the top Grade, looks to have an awful lot going for him.

A wind operation and a change to front running tactics has transformed Alan King’s 9yo Smad Place. He was hugely impressive when making all to win the Hennessy by 12L. Held up in the King George he was a disappointing 4th,but reverting to front running he again impressed when taking the BetBright chase over the course in January. He Probably needs to find 10lbs from somewhere to win, but coming from this yard that is not impossible.

Last years third, Road To Riches, seems to be the forgotten horse of the race. The apple of his trainer’s eye, he ran a great race last year and given good ground he could spring a surprise.

Selection: Don Cossack

E.W. : Vautour

Betfair Fixed Brush Handicap Hurdle Haydock 2ml 7f Saturday

Betfair Fixed Brush Handicap Hurdle Haydock 2ml 7f Saturday

Saturday’s contest is run over obstacles based on the French hurdle design, which is similar to a plain fence but lower in height, and significantly, unlike the British design, are of very rigid and inflexible construction, so it comes as no surprise that many subsequent top chasers, such as Grand Crus and Dynaste have won the race, and Holywell and Synchronised have been placed.

David Pipe has won three of the ten renewals of the contest, but given the likely conditions at the weekend and the current low strike rate of the Nicholashayne operation his two representatives, Low Key, and Batavir are passed over. However the man with the second best record in the race, Nick Williams, who has hit the back of the net on two occasions, runs the six year old Tea for Two, and he isn’t so easy to dismiss.

He breezed up in the 21f Lanzarote hurdle last January off a mark of 134, winning by 16L, but was hit with a 19lbs rise for his trouble. Having disappointed in his next two races he has been cut some slack by the handicapper and raced with some promise, off a mark of 142 finishing sixth, on his reappearance at Chepstow six weeks ago. By Kayf Tara, Saturday’s 23f shouldn’t present any problems and again enjoying the benefit of Lizzie Kelly’s 5lbs claim he looks a well handicapped horse off his new mark of 141, only 7lbs higher than for his Lanzarote romp.

With a greater emphasis on stamina likely at the weekend, Warren Greatrex certainly has a candidate in Shantou Bob bred for the job. The seven year old is by the St Leger winner, Shantou, out of a Bob Back mare so Saturday’s 23f should hold no fears. He relished testing conditions in only his third race over hurdles, when failing by the shortest of margins to get the better of Vyta Du Roc in a Cl1 Gd2 novices hurdle at Sandown last December. He was staying on with great resolution, and the effort was even more meritorious as he lost a shoe causing him to hang. He broke a blood vessel when odds on in his next race and was a little disappointing at the Festival over three miles, but did run on well to finish sixth. Very lightly raced one feels the best is still to come from Shantou Bob and a reproduction of his Sandown effort would put him firmly in the mix.

Venetia Williams’s French-bred 5yo Yala Enki looked an animal going places when hosing up in a 21 1/2f novices hurdle at Exeter eighteen days ago, making all, and winning by sixteen lengths. A winner over fences in France he is clearly a pretty versatile young horse and as six of the ten winners have hailed from his country of birth, and five of the last six first past the post, have been five year olds, the stats certainly point firmly in his direction.

Brian Ellison’s 6yo Definitly Red showed the right attitude, when despite a ground losing mistake at the third last, he fought back to beat the favourite, Fletchers Flyer, over three miles at the course in Febuary on soft ground. He was pulled up at the Festival, but this winner of two listed bumpers in testing conditions at Newbury and Cheltenham, (also won a heavy ground Uttoxeter bumper) definitly has an engine and looks well treated off a mark of 138, giving him a nice racing weight of 10st10lbs. A winner first time out for the last two years, he is well worth considering.

Emma Lavelle’s triple course winner, Closing Ceremony, is worth a second look. He was beaten in a 26f Warwick slog by Join The Clan, to whom he was conceding 22lbs, (including Patrick Cowleys 10lb allowance) last January off a mark of 134, but made a very good impression five weeks later when making all in a Cl1 Gd2 hurdle over three miles at Haydock, in a time four seconds faster than Definitly Red managed on the same day. While such time comparisons can be slightly spurious this stout stayer is clearly on the up, and will definitly improve for his reappearance run behind Aqualim three weeks ago.

Selection : Shantou Bob

E.W. : Definitly Redhaydock park

Champion Bumper Cheltenham Festival Betting Preview

Pylonthepressure

Another of the Mullins Brigade to have impressed has been the 5yo Pylonthepressure who has won his three races to date with considerable ease.

Preview : Weatherbys Champion Bumper, Wednesday.

First run in 1992, the Champion Bumper has been dominated by Irish Stables who have won seventeen of the twenty two renewals, a trend strongly emphasised last year, when the first six home came from stables from across the water. Willie Mullins has been the dominant trainer in the contest, winning eight times. Philip Hobbs and Colin Tizzard are the only two successful home based handlers since Martin Pipe in 2003.

The Willie Mullins trained Bordini heads the market at 6/1. Having finished only third in his sole point to point, he has impressed in his two bumpers, winning both of them with considerable ease. His last win was particularly eye catching, where responding to pressure, he ran on very stoutly up Navan’s demanding uphill finish to win comfortably. The third horse Rock on the Moor (recd 4lbs) who was twenty lengths behind, came out and won his next race, so the form looks solid.

Another of the Mullins Brigade to have impressed has been the 5yo Pylonthepressure who has won his three races to date with considerable ease. He trotted up in his sole point to point last May, and won equally readily when easily winning his first bumper at Thurles in December. It was his latest race (2m3f sft Naas Feb7) that impressed this observer. Second choice in the market to the highly regarded, Gordon Elliot trained, Space Cadet, to whom he was Conceeding 7lbs, Pylonthepressure made all, galloped all over the opposition, and stayed on stoutly to win by 8 1/2L from the Elliot horse. This performance had Cheltenham written all over it, and it would be no surprise see another similar effort on Wednsday.

The David Pipe trained Moon Racer hasn’t been seen since winning over the course and distance ( gd/sft) back in October. While the form was ordinary, he did win with his head in his chest in a respectable time. Connections have probably avoided the bad winter ground, so this 6yo who won his only previous race, a very competitive Fairyhouse bumper, last April, at odds of 50/1 is Definitley one for the short list.

Selection : Pylonthepressure

Danger. : Moon Racer