Apple’s Jade Fighting Fit For Newcastle
It’s disappointing that there’s no Irish representative in the Hennessy Gold Cup but it still promises to be a fascinating race and as you would expect, there is plenty to look forward to over the weekend, none more so than Thistlecrack who faces four rivals at Newbury and there is also Grade One hurdle action at Newcastle.
Tizzard’s Go For Gold
Thistlecrack is unlikely to be a punter friendly price until he steps out of novice company but we all hope he lives up to expectations in the second race at Newbury but later on the card his trainer, Colin Tizzard looks to have a massive chance of claiming the 60th running of the Hennessy Gold Cup.
Native River holds few secrets from either the form book or the odds compilers and his price gives little away but he is the one horse, that in my opinion, has the potential to step up and be a player at the top table of staying chasers later in the season.
There are number of Grade One horses prominent in the betting for the Hennessy but flaws can be picked in plenty of them and Native River was last seen over fences winning a Grade One at Aintree and his prep run for this over hurdler was an ideal sharpener.
For such a race and with four places available to each-way punters, Native River might not be everyone’s ideal selection given that he is 5/1 favourite but…
a horse who could make the frame at bigger odds is Houblon Des Obeaux.
Venetia Williams’ charge was 8/1 when finishing down the field in last year’s Hennessy and is over twice those odds this time around but he does have pockets of form that gives him a chance of maybe nicking a place and if looking for an each-way bet in the race, he would certainly be it.
Both Bryan Cooper and Jack Kennedy have been sidelined for longer than they’d have liked this season but both are back in full swing now and take up the rides on the Gigginstown-owned pair in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle.
As retained jockey to the champion owner in Ireland, Bryan Cooper had the choice here and has opted for Henry de Bromhead’s Petit Mouchoir but the Kerry native may well be on the wrong one here with Apple’s Jade expected to come back to winning ways this time around.
An emphatic 41-length winner at Aintree last spring, the former Willie Mullins-trained filly disappointed on her reappearance at Down Royal but still finished ahead of Petit Mouchoir on that occasion and it’s strange to see Cooper make the selection that he has.
That said, Cooper would have most likely sat on both horses since that Down Royal outing and much deliberation would have went into the choice but Apple’s Jade looks likely to get ideal ground and having had an extra three weeks under the watchful eye of Elliott, she can maybe be expected to improve for that outing and the knowledge of her trainer getting to know her…
so Apple’s Jade is expected to oblige.
One For Gowran
Fresh from his winner for JP McManus at Punchestown last week, Gold Cup winning trainer Tom Taaffe can land the finale at Gowran Park on Saturday with I Knew Well. Due to be ridden by Mark Walsh, the son of Oscar ran a decent race at Naas in a conditional jockeys race earlier in the month and that was his first start for some time.
If progressing from that run after his break, I Knew Well should be able to oblige off his current rating of 103.
Apple’s Jade (5/2) – 2.55 Newcastle
Houblon Des Obeaux (20/1) – 3.10 Newbury
I Knew Well (4/1) – 3.50 Gowran Park
*Prices correct at time of publication.