Hennessy Gold Cup
horse racing tipster
Grade 3 Handicap, Newbury 15:00
£200,000 added,
4yo plus,
3m 1f 214y, Class 1  
Saturday 28th November 2015

1 Smad Place 7/1
2 Theatre Guide 12/1
3 First Lieutenant 20/1
NR: Fox Appeal (IRE), The Druids Nephew (IRE)
15 ran Distances: 12l, nk, 9l
TIME 6m 45.30s (slow by 14.30s)

Smad Place romps to 12 Length Hennessy success

Smad Place
© Racehorse Photos

Smad Place
Alan King ticked off another box on his glittering CV after Smad Place finally delivered on the big stage over fences with a scintillating win in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.

While the victory came 12 months later than expected, it still tasted just as sweet for the Barbury Castle handler as he continued his fine start to the season.

King admitted to having made a mistake by not giving the striking grey a prep race before last year's renewal, in which he finished fifth.

But his decision to send the eight-year-old to Kempton at the start of the month was fully vindicated by one of the most impressive Hennessy victories in recent times.

Within a few strides of the tape falling, the Grade Two-winning hurdler was placed close to the pace, with Fingal Bay behind early leader The Giant Bolster, before Smad Place was taken to the front by Wayne Hutchinson at the ninth fence.

Attacking each fence with great venom, the 7-1 shot had plenty of his rivals in trouble long before the business end and continued to turn the screw at the head of affairs.

Despite having raced with choke out for so long, Smad Place found extra reserves when asked for more by Hutchinson, whose partner measured the four fences in the home straight as fluently as he met the first.

Runner-up Theatre Guide stayed on dourly from the rear of the field, but he was in a different county to the winner and was beaten out of sight by 12 lengths.

Top weight and 9-2 favourite Saphir Du Rheu saw his chances compromised when making a mistake seven fences home before plugging on for fifth, while 2012 Hennessy winner Bobs Worth finished sixth.

Following his Hennessy romp, Smad Place received quotes of around 16-1 about winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.

King said: "We hoped for a good run but that's taken my breath away.

"He (Hutchinson) was very brave, but I'm not sure that were the tactics we discussed.

"We thought he had a great chance last year but I was trying to be very clever and we came here without a run.

"This year we went to Kempton first and he was a different horse. I learnt from my mistake last year and Kempton helped get his confidence back.

"He loves to be up there and he deserved to win a big race as he'd been knocking on the door.

"He pricked his ears early on and was so relaxed within himself.

"From three out I thought they are not travelling and I knew it would only take a silly mistake to stop him, but he met the last few on a good stride."

Smad Place's victory also had added poignancy for King after Barbury Castle stable lad John Goggin died last week following a car crash.

"While this win means a lot, it doesn't bring him back," said King.

It was clear that the victory also meant a lot to 34-year-old Hutchinson, who had nothing but praise for the winning horse and trainer.

"That was brilliant," said the rider.

"I'm absolutely thrilled to bits - he was fab.

"It's all come together this year. He certainly enjoyed himself and so did I - he never missed a beat.

"I was always going to be positive and I was really confident in the horse.

"He had been placed in two World Hurdles so we knew he would stay three miles and he has gone and done it.

"It's fantastic to win these prestigious races. I remember coming here as a kid when Timmy Murphy won on Ever Blessed (1999).

"I stood there watching him come into the winner's enclosure and I now have to pinch myself that I've done it so many years later.

"The boss has been a great supporter of mine. He has made my career what it is."

Hennessy Gold Cup Chase (Grade 3 Handicap)
£200,000 added, 4yo plus, 3m 1f 214y, Class 1
15 ran
Going: Soft

Pos D Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Smad Place (FR) 7/1 Wayne Hutchinson
A King 8
2nd 12 Theatre Guide (IRE) 12/1 P J Brennan
C L Tizzard 8
3rd nk First Lieutenant (IRE) 20/1 M A Enright
M F Morris 10
4th 9 Fingal Bay (IRE) 12/1 R Johnson
P J Hobbs 9
5th ½ Saphir Du Rheu (FR) 9/2f Sam Twiston-Davies
P F Nicholls 6
6th Bobs Worth (IRE) 11/2 Nico de Boinville
N J Henderson 10
7th 4 The Giant Bolster 33/1 T Scudamore
D G Bridgwater 10
8th 8 Ned Stark (IRE) 8/1 D F O'Regan
A King 7
9th 9 Houblon Des Obeaux (FR) 8/1 Aidan Coleman
Miss V Williams 8
10th 1 Benbens (IRE) 33/1 Ryan Hatch (3)
N A Twiston-Davies 10
11th Urano (FR) 22/1 D E Mullins
W P Mullins 7
PU If In Doubt (IRE) 8/1 B J Geraghty
P J Hobbs 7
PU Al Co (FR) 66/1 Sean Bowen
P Bowen 10
UR The Young Master 10/1 Mr S Waley-Cohen (3)
N P Mulholland 6
UR Splash of Ginge 25/1 Jamie Bargary (5)
N A Twiston-Davies 7
NR The Druids Nephew (IRE) 12/1 N D Fehily
N P Mulholland 8
NR Fox Appeal (IRE) 33/1 G Sheehan
Miss E C Lavelle 8

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