2016 Hennessy Gold Cup stats guide
David Metcalf | 26 November 2016
Blaklion the trend horse in Hennessy Gold Cup
The 60th running of the Hennessy Gold Cup takes centre stage at Newbury on Saturday (15.10) and Native River is currently favourite with Coral to provide trainer Colin Tizzard with another big race winner.
Blaklion and Vyta Du Roc are among other heavily-backed ante post in recent weeks for the prestigious 3m 2f handicap chase which has been won by some top class animals, including eight that have gone on to land the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Here’s our horse racing expert’s guide to the leading trends for the valuable contest at the Berkshire venue:
AgeYoung up and coming chasers who were novices the previous season have fared best. Only one winner in the last decade has not been in the six-to-eight year-old range, and that was the mighty Denman when landing the spoils for a second time in 2009.
Seven-year-olds have won six of the last 12 renewals and among this year’s contenders are Blaklion, Saphir De Rheu (fifth in 2015), Virak, Un Temps Pour Tout and Vyta Du Roc.
BettingThose at the head of the market have dominated in recent years with eight of the last 10 winners being priced at 10/1 or shorter. That’s a plus at present for Native River, Vyta Du Roc, Saphir Du Rheu, Un Temps Pour Tout and the well-punted Blaklion.
RatingsAll of the last 10 winners have all had an official rating of 145 or higher. That is a slight negative for the well-fanced Vyta Du Roc who is rated 143, but he is open to further improvement and only falls short by 2lb.
Top trainersNicky Henderson has won the race three times, including two of the last four renewals. He saddles Trio D’Alene who landed the spoils in 2013 and the well-backed Vyta Du Roc. Paul Nicholls has also saddled three winners, including Denman in 2007 and 2009. Saphir Du Rheu appears to be the Ditcheat handler’s main contender this time round.
Trial racesThe RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival has been a key trial. Trabolgan (2005), Denman (2007) and Bob’s Worth (2012) all won the race before going on to glory. Blaklion bids to follow in their footsteps. Vyta Du Roc came fifth behind Blaklion in this year’s RSA.
WeightPrior to the weights being compressed in 1991, light-weights had a tremendous record in the race. Since then only two winners have carried less than 11st to victory. Of those at the head of the current market that’s a negative for Saphir Du Rheu (10st 13lb) and Vyta Du Roc (10st 3lb). However, Blaklion sneaks in to meet the criteria on 11st.
Conclusion: Blaklion ticks the most boxes and looks to hold major claims of providing trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies with a second winner of the race, with the Naunton-based handler having saddled King’s Road to victory back in 2000.