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Don Cossack and Coneygree top 60 entries for Hennessy Gold Cup

David Metcalf | October 28, 2015

Don Cossack and Coneygree high-profile entrants for Hennessy Gold Cup

The two highest-rated chasers in training, Don Cossack and Coneygree, were among a stellar entry of 60 revealed today for the £200k Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on Saturday, November 28th.

Don Cossack, who is trained in Ireland by Gordon Elliott, was a revelation last season and the manner of his victories in Aintree’s Melling Chase and the Punchestown Gold Cup elevated him to the top of the Anglo-Irish Jump Classifications with a rating of 175.

The eight-year-old has already proved his well-being this season with a facile 12-length victory in a Grade 3 contest at Punchestown on October 15th.

Elliott said: “Don Cossack has been entered in the Hennessy just to keep all his options open.

“He has come out Punchestown in great form and, at the moment, definitely goes to Down Royal at the weekend for the Champion Chase (Saturday, October 31th).

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“Realistically, I would say Newbury is unlikely but I want to give him the option of all those good races.”

Coneygree is early joint-favourite

Coneygree, rated 172 at the end of last season, enjoyed a thrilling unbeaten 2014/15 campaign which culminated with him becoming the first the novice chaser since Captain Christy in 1974 to land the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Trainer Mark Bradstock has nominated the 3m 2f contest as the early-season target for the eight-year-old and is eyeing a prep run at either Carlisle on November 1st or Sandown on November 8th.

Coneygree, who is the current 6/1 co-favourite with Coral for the Hennessy, proved his liking for Newbury with two wins at the course last season including an easy seven-length victory in the Grade 2 Denman Chase over 3m.

Saphir Du Rheu, an impressive winner over fences at Aintree’s Grand National meeting in April shares the head of the betting with Coneygree and headlines an eight-strong entry for champion Jump trainer Paul Nicholls.

Owner Andy Stewart said: “Saphir Du Rheu is absolutely fine. It is almost certain that he will travel to Down Royal with Rocky Creek this weekend to run in the two and a half mile intermediate chase. I was with Paul yesterday discussing our options and, although they both have other entries, we think we will go to Ireland.

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“From what we have seen so far, a few of Paul’s have been needing the run and it makes sense to get an outing into Saphir du Rheu before the Hennessy.”

Irish horses aplenty for marquee Newbury race

Besides Don Cossack, there are seven more Irish-trained entries, including five from the powerful stable of Willie Mullins. The quintet features Don Poli, who toyed with his rivals when running away with the RSA Chase at Cheltenham in March, dual Grade One scorer Valseur Lido and exciting mare Vroum Vroum Mag, who is unbeaten over fences since joining the Co Carlow handler and 8/1 with Coral.

Grand National hero Many Clouds is likely to bid for a second Hennessy Gold Cup victory after a popular triumph last year and is 10/1 for a repeat success, while Bobs Worth who captured the race en route to Gold Cup glory in 2012/13 also holds an engagement.

Trainer Philip Hobbs has five entries, notably If In Doubt and Sausalito Sunrise, while David Pipe’s five contenders are headed by Grade 1 winner Dynaste and the highly-regarded Kings Palace (14/1), plus the Alan Stennett-owned pair of Ballynagour and Monetaire.

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