Next Sensation can retain Grand Annual crown
David Metcalf | March 16, 2016
Next Sensation weighted to score again in Grand Annual
Next Sensation has a good record in the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase, and can take advantage of a drop in the weights to further enhance it with victory in the 2m contest that brings the curtain down on the 2016 Cheltenham Festival (17:30).
The Michael Scudamore trained nine-year-old ran a stormer to finish fourth in 2014 when ridden far too aggressively and only weakening close home to be beaten just 1 3/4 length by Savello.
Next Sensation then failed to fire in his next five starts before bouncing back to form with a vengeance to land last year’s renewal in terrific style.
The nine-year-old was given superb front running ride by Tom Scudamore, and stayed on strongly after the last to beat Eastlake by four lengths off a mark of 143.
Given a chance by the handicapper
Next Sensation got put up to 153 for that success, and has failed to trouble the judge in four starts this season.
However, that has resulted in the handicapper cutting him plenty of slack and the son of Brian Boru is now able to race off just 1lb higher than when landing the spoils 12 months ago.
It gives Next Sensation major claims at the weights of gaining a repeat success, and anorther plus is that Next Sensation now gets the good ground that he relishes.
Lough Kent a lively outsider
Trainer Nicky Henderson has won the race named after his late father twice, saddling Greenhope to victory in 2006 and Bellvano in 2012.
The Seven Barrows handler has just one runner in this year’s renewal in the shape of Lough Kent.
A winner of two of his seven starts over fences, the seven-year-old shaped nicely on seasonal reappearance when a not knocked about seventh of 15 to Keel Haul at this venue.
Lough Kent then disappointed when last seen in action and pulled-up at Newbury, but has since been given a break to freshen up and is sure to be tuned to the minute for this contest.
The yard has also enjoyed a terrific Festival, and with the in-form Nico De Boinville in the saddle it would be no surprise to see Lough Kent put in a big run.
Coral’s top tip: Next Sensation rates a solid bet to land back-to-back Grand Annual successes. Lough Kent looks the each-way value.