The excitement is building ahead of the 2016 Hennessy Gold Cup and we’ve been pawing over the relevant facts and trends in an attempt to pinpoint this year’s winner.
Man of the moment Colin Tizzard saddles antepost favourite Native River. But will the Dorset trainer be celebrating another big race success following the 3m1f contest at Newbury?
He’s certainly doing all he can to ensure another super Saturday, having booked champion jockey Richard Johnson for the ride.
Johnson has never won the Hennessy before but there’s no doubt he has a great chance of breaking that duck this weekend.
Six and seven-year-old horses hold the best recent record in the Hennessy, with a combined 7-15-88 in the past decade. That compares pretty favourably to all others ages (combined 3-13-90).
And throw in the fact that each of the previous 10 winners were rated 145 or higher and you can soon start to sort the wheat from the chaff.
Granted, you’re still left with quite a few big names, including last year’s winner Smad Place.
But even the returning hero can be ruled out according to trends, with Denman the only horse over eight-years-old to have won this in the last 10 years.
Still want more ammo?
Eight of the last 10 winners were priced at 10/1 or shorter with the first four in the betting responsible for seven of the last 10 victors.
That leaves us with six given we’ve already discounted top-weight Smad Place (barring Denman’s two wins, top-weights haven’t had much recent luck in the Hennessy either).
They are: Saphir Du Rheu, Un Temps Pour Tout, Vyta Du Roc and Blaklion.
The latter is certainly interesting given the fact that on the six most recent occasions the previous year’s RSA Chase winner has lined-up, two have gone on to win the Hennessy Gold Cup.
But unfortunately for fans of Nigel Twiston-Davies’ charge we’re going to be brutal and also point out that nine of the last 10 Hennessy heroes finished in the first three on their last completed start.
Last year’s Cheltenham handicap winner Un Temps Pour Tout is another to put a line through having been beaten by Native River twice in the past 12 months, including in a novice chase at Newbury.
Meanwhile, Vyta Du Roc was beaten 18 lengths by David Pipe’s entrant last time out, as well as being soundly beaten by Blaklion in the RSA.
All of which leaves us with Saphir Du Rheu and Native River.
Paul Nicholls will certainly know how to get the former right for this latest test having won the Hennessy three times in the last 13 years, with five places during the last 10 runnings to call upon.
By contrast, Tizzard’s Theatre Guide has placed in two of the last three renewals.
However, while it might not be original, we’re giving Native River the nod. Eight of the last 10 winners have carried 11-1 or more which rules out Saphir and further opens the door for the market leader.
Key Hennessy Gold Cup trends:
– Six and seven-year-old horses have won seven of the last 10 runnings
– Each of the previous 10 Hennessy winners were rated 145+
– Eight of the last 10 winners were priced at 10/1 or shorter
– Nine of the last 10 winners finished in the first three on their last completed start
– Eight of the last 10 winners carried 11-1 or more
Click here for the latest Hennessy Gold Cup odds.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing