Nick William’s mercurial steeplechaser is 25/1 to secure a second Hennessey crown two years on from his first. No mean feat, given the last horse to land such a double was the great Denman.
Diamond Harry may have been pulled up on his last three racecourse starts – including on his seasonal bow in Wincanton’s Badger Ales Chase – but there are a host of reasons why it’s worth chancing 25/1 about him returning to form at Newbury.
The first is the track itself. Newbury’s left-handed galloping circuit has proved a favourite track for the nine year-old, yielding him a deeply impressive five wins from six visits – including when a classy Hennessey winner two years ago.
The nation has been in the grip of some excessively wet weather since late last week, but whilst soft ground on Hennessey day won’t be ideal for many of Diamond Harry’s rivals, the nine-year old has won each of his four starts on the going.
Among those for whom the current underfoot conditions would be a step into the unknown is ante-post favourite Bobs Worth. Trainer Nicky Henderson has stated that there is “an element of doubt” over his participation, given heavy ground is a possibility.
Worsening going would not prove unduly worrying to the Diamond Harry camp as the chaser has won two of his three career runs on heavy going for good measure.
Lastly, Carruthers’ victory last year showed that the Hennessey is not the sole preserve of second season chasers on the up and up and the handicapper has afforded Nick Williams’ experienced gelding every chance of a return to form at his favourite track.
Diamond Harry will run off a mark of 143, meaning he’ll be in receipt of more than a stone in weight from 2012 RSA Chase one-two Bobs Worth and First Lieutenant, two of last season’s foremost staying novices.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date