This year’s Hennessy offers an intriguing clash of seasoned handicappers, high class novices from last season and the winner of the Reynoldstown Novices Chase of 2012, Invictus. Invictus was very impressive when he beat both Bobs Worth and Silviniaco Conti comprehensively. If he returns in that sort of form then he will be very hard to beat, but having missed 650 days and having never gone beyond 3 miles it would be an amazing training performance by Alan King.
The standout handicappers from last season are Cape Tribulation, Katenko and Highland Lodge. Venetia Williams, trainer of Katenko also has Houblon Des Obeaux entered and he was outstanding when winning the United House Gold Cup with ease at Ascot earlier this month. He is the current form pick on what we have seen so far, but is currently not jockeyed up.
Last year’s crop of novices promise a lot but this is the acid test for them. Rocky Creek has been touted for some time and the late David Johnson, who was part owner, was very keen to target this race. His trainer Paul Nicholls, has also been very frank about this being this horse’s main target. He won last years Reynoldstown Novices Chase where he beat Houblon Des Obeaux.
Lord Windemere is the winner of last year’s RSA Chase and trainer Jim Culloty has been very bullish about how much this horse has improved since last season and he feels that it will take a good horse to beat him.
The going and obviously a bit of luck in running will be important factors as several of the leading contenders would no doubt prefer softer ground.
My Selections are: Lord Windemere @8/1 and the danger is Rocky Creek@ 7/1.
The Fighting Fifth at Newcastle looks like being a more competitive renewal than many in recent years and My Tent or Yours is a worthy favourite. However, at the likely odds on price and with some of Nicky Henderson’s horses needing a run, I would prefer to be on Melodic Rondezvous@ 5/2.
Our recommended bookmaker is Paddy Power (affiliate link).