Weights announced for Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury
Denman will carry top weight, 11-12, in the Hennessy Gold Cup after handicapper Phil Smith declared the weights for the biggest National Hunt race of the season so far.
Thirty-four horses were left in the running after Tuesday’s first scratching stage, but only eight of those horses will race off their true mark because Denman is rated so highly by the handicapper.
The other seven horses to run off of their true handicap mark will be Denman’s stable mates Neptunes Collonges (10-8), Taranis (10-4) and What a Friend (10-3), plus others China Rock (10-4), Madison Du Berlais (10-1), Silver By Nature (10-0) and Barbers Shop (10-0).
Because of their official rating, horses such as Diamond Harry and Wierd Al, 6/1 and 5/1 respectively in the Newbury Hennessy Gold Cup betting market, will be competing from out of the handicap,meaning they will be at a disadvantage.
Both Diamond Harry and Weird Al are rated 30 points lower than Denman by the official handicapper which equates to getting 30 pounds from the former Gold Cup winner, which should mean they both run off 9-10.
But with the lowest weight set at 10-0 and with Denman running off 11-12, Weird Al and Diamond Harry will only claim 26 pounds from Denman leaving them 4 pounds worse off.
The last Hennessy winner from out of the weights was Be My Royal in 2002 who was later disqualified after failing a drugs test.
The last legal winner was Ever Blessed in 1999 when running 10 pounds out of the handicap, but since then over 40 horses have tried to win the Hennessy with only two managing to place.
With Denman conceding so much weight to his rivals, a win would register as one of the greatest performances of all time as Paul Nicholls searches for his third Hennessy Gold Cup with Denman.
Madison Du Berlais is well weighted and is 16/1 to win the Hennessy Gold Cup . See the latest Hennessy Gold Cup betting odds here.