Bobs Worth has been given a fairly stiff mark from which to win the Hennessy Gold Cup, but if he can get the job done at Newbury, he may even become favourite to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.
Denman is the only horse in the last decade to even place in the Hennessy off an official rating of 159 or higher, which goes to show the task facing Bobs Worth, after he was allocated a mark of 160.
The developments have caused a mini shake-up in the Hennessy betting, with Ladbrokes offering the top price of 6/1 for a victory for the Nicky Henderson-trained seven-year-old.
Handicapper Phil Smith believes his hands were tied on the matter, given the manner in which Bobs Worth beat First Lieutenant in the RSA Chase at the last Cheltenham Festival.
However, if he can defy the Hennessy trends, Bobs Worth’s price of 8/1 to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup will surely not last long.
After triumphing in the Hennessy off 161, Denman went on in the same season to defeat Kauto Star, when at the peak of his powers and prime of his career, in the Gold Cup.
This year’s Gold Cup does not seem to have a horse of the calibre of Kauto Star and so if good enough to win the Hennessy off 160, Bobs Worth would not have to improve much to be a factor in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Also in Bobs Worth’s favour ahead of the Hennessy is that six of the last 11 winners came from his age group, while eight of the last nine victors were sent off at a starting price of 10/1 or shorter.
Meanwhile, Nicky Henderson has had a horse finish among the places in four of the last six renewals, alongside Trabolgan’s triumph in 2005.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.