The Hennessy Gold Cup is one of the biggest betting races of the National Hunt calendar and the showpiece at Newbury promises to be another cracker tomorrow.
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has won this three-mile-two-and-a-half-furlong contest five times – twice as a jockey and three times as a handler. He most famously saddled the brilliant Denman, who defied top weight twice in 2007 and 2009 to land the prize.
Tidal Bay is one of two Nicholls’ entries this year, along with Harry The Viking, and the enigmatic 11-year-old will be out to emulate his former stablemate by carrying a burden of 11st 12lb to victory under Ruby Walsh.
There are no real weight trends to give us an edge. Trabolgan is another horse to have won off top weight and those towards the bottom of the handicap have been just as successful.
However, no horse since 1981 has been over nine years old so that would appear to count against Tidal Bay, Lion Na Bearnai and Roberto Goldback.
Four seven-year-olds have landed the Hennessy in the last ten years which is a positive for favourite Bobs Worth, First Lieutenant and Magnanimity.
Only one of the last ten winners had won at a distance equal to or further than tomorrow’s trip, Gingembre back in 2002. Only Ikorodu Road is a runner, excluding the two previous winners, Diamond Harry and Carruthers, which has won at the distance previously.
The four most recent winners had all been victorious at Newbury before, which is another positive for Bobs Worth, Alfie Spinner, Duke Of Lucca, The Package and Ikorodu Road.