Young Master Can Exact Revenge At Hennessy

Punters are in for an absolute treat on Saturday courtesy of Newbury’s mouth-watering Hennessy Gold Cup in which Paul Nicholls’ Saphir Du Rheu heads the market on 7/2.

Saphir The Class Act
Winner of last season’s Grade 1 Milmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree in April (3m1f, good), Saphir Du Rheu returned with a bang this season when beating The Young Master (8/1) 7l in a Listed Chase at Carlisle 27 days ago. That outing would have put this 6yo spot-on for Saturday, though recent trends suggest he’ll need to improve if successful from a mark of 163.

Hennessy Gold Cup Trends
Of the last 10 Hennessy Gold Cups…
10 were officially rated 145 or higher
9 arrived via Cheltenham (5), Aintree (2) or Ascot (2)
8 returned 12/1 or shorter
8 were 6-7yo’s
8 ran over 3m-3m1f last time
7 ran in a maximum of one handicap chase
N Henderson won it three times, P Nicholls twice

Place Fit For A King
Also among the leading fancies is Alan King’s 8yo, Smad Place (6/1), who lines-up in good form having won a small chase at Kempton earlier this month, beating Fingal Bay (14/1) by 8l. However, as with Saphir Du Rheu, he’ll need to find improvement having been fifth in this race 12 months ago (beaten 20l) from the same mark.

Bob Is Back
The former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Bobs Worth (6/1), has also been backed in the run-up to Saturday, having got back on the winning trail over hurdles three weeks ago.

That victory would have boosted his confidence and he gets a chance to land this race three years on from a 7lb lower mark.

Elsewhere, Philip Hobbs has the 7yo, If In Doubt (7/1), who was last seen pulling up in the Irish Grand National in April (soft), though having won the Skybet Chase at Doncaster (3m) on better ground, he can be expected to go well if the rain stays away.

Each-Way Value
One who will want more rain is Venetia Williams’ Houblon Des Obeaux (14/1) who was runner-up in last year’s Hennessy, and returns on a 1lb lower mark. Given an outing last month when down the field at Ascot, he could come on for the outing and is rated each-way material.

Ned Stark (12/1) was ahead of Houblon Des Obeaux at Ascot, and has dropped in the weights, though The Druids Nephew (10/1) is 10lb higher than when winning a Grade 3 at Cheltenham in March.

Mouse Morris also sends over First Lieutenant (20/1), who was third to Bobs Worth in this back in 2012, and heads back for another crack from a 12lb lower mark.

Recommended Bets
Saphir Du Rheu is respected, but The Young Master has a 12lb pull (if you include his pilot’s claim) for a 7l beating against the favourite last time over a trip too short. This step back beyond 3m will be more to The Young Master’s liking, and he rates each-way value at 8/1.

*Prices correct at time of publication