Tanya Stevenson
Tanya Stevenson's Racing UK Blog
Saturday 28th November 2015

Racing UK

Master the Hennessy with Mulholland value

Hennessy Gold Cup

History suggests that notebooks should be at the ready however the Hennessy Gold Cup unravels at Newbury on Saturday.  

Across the last twenty years horses to have run in the Hennessy Gold Cup have subsequently gone on to win five Grand Nationals, two Scottish Nationals, a King George Chase, three Betfred Bowls and three Cheltenham Gold Cups, with a further six finishing second and three third in the Festival Blue Riband.

In the betting for the 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup of the 17 in the Hennessy, Saphir Du Rheu is the shortest at 14-1 for March with The Druids Nephew his closest pursuer, while he is also 25-1 second favourite for the Crabbie’s Grand National

Hennessy Gold Cup Tipping Competition
click here for details at Mathematician Betting

Coneygree’s defection earlier in the week leaves Saphir Du Rheu at the top of the market and carrying top weight, plus a short enough 4-1 at the head of the betting. 

His age group has an admirable record bringing home 11 victories since 1957, most recent Triolo D’Alene in 2013. 

Saphir Du Rheu has had five races over fences and on the three occasions he has completed he won.  Never has he run in a race over bigger obstacles with more than nine runners, though his win at Aintree took your breath away. It wasn’t long after his second in the World Hurdle. 

Time to value hunt methinks. Much has been said about the chances of previous winner Bobs Worth, was his hurdle success over stable companion over hyped? Last season’s three runs hardly inspire, but after Sprinter Sacre at Cheltenham do we dare to dream?

© Racehorse Photos

Once again I’m minded go elsewhere, and a speculative each-way bet on Benbens. He has finished first or second on seven of his 14 chase starts.  Importantly he handles all conditions proved by his fifth in the Welsh National, which was quickly followed up by his second in the Peter Marsh Chase

His aptitude for staying handicaps was further displayed with his third in the Scottish National and last time out he was an easy winner at Aintree. 

Neil Mulholland boasts three winners from his last six runners and has two in the big race in The Druids Nephew and The Young Master. I would have preferred the former to have run a bit better over hurdles at Wetherby. He was seventh in the race last year, just behind Smad Place in fifth. 

The Young Master
© Racehorse Photos
The Young Master

The Young Master has already tackled Saphir Du Rheu at Carlisle, where he received 4lb for a seven-length defeat, after leading.  In the Hennessy his concession from the top weight is 15lb and there is the natural improvement expected since his seasonal debut. The Waley-Cohen family have bought into him and Sam will ride him, removing a further 3lb from the lead in the saddle.  Last year he rapidly rose up the chasing ranks and his one error was taking on King’s Palace for the lead in the RSA Chase. Of all of the runners it is hard to believe he has only jumped the bigger obstacles six times. For me he has to be the value I seek.

Hennessy Gold Cup - Treble Odds on Any Horse
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Betting shop manager of the year

Judging Betting Shop Manager of the Year was rewarding as it was eye opening. Managers are always questioned on various matters, including racing turnover in their shops which, apparently, continues to dip. 

In an attempt to seek their feedback I asked whether racing in the summer months should start the same time in the winter? 

There was a general agreement with the proviso no extra meetings are added.  The managers felt it could be used as a good tool to ease the congestion during an afternoon as it would help stagger existing fixtures.  There was confirmation that when there was exaggerated congestion there is no time for bet placing, let alone form studying. 

Another interesting fact was the busiest times in the respective shops - please remember this is a small sample of shops. Some said late mornings  to early lunch at around 11.30 to 12.30, while others said after 4pm. 

There was no denial that technology had meant business had migrated to mobile and online - that is not to say though that racing’s devotees in shops should be ignored or alienated.

I missed the actual awards ceremony as Monday afternoon was dedicated to the second gathering of the Horserace Bettors Forum, although we are all in contact regularly. We need better engagement from you, racing’s fan base. Here’s the facility to have a voice and we’d love more input.  Twitter input is excellent, yet it is not representative of a widespread consensus.


Tanya Stevenson’s Saturday tips:

3.00 Newbury: The Young Master

3.00 NewburyBenbens each-way

Tanya Stevenson’s Saturday pointers

3.00 Newbury – Hennessy Gold Cup:

Eight of the last ten winners of the Hennessy were priced no bigger than 10-1.

Fifteen of the last 20 winners came from the first five in the betting.

Only four of the last 20 winners had previously run in the race.

Six of the last ten winners were having their seasonal debut.

Eight of the last ten winners carried 11st-1lbs or more.

Seventeen of the last 20 winners finished no worse than third on their most recent run.

Seven of the last ten winners had run at that year’s Cheltenham Festival (Five in the RSA Chase, two in the Cheltenham Gold Cup).

Five of the last ten winners had run at that year’s Aintree Grand National Festival.

Seven winners since 1994 had run in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham that year.

Twelve of the last 17 winners had run no more than seven times over fences.

From 95 runners over the last ten years eight of the last ten winners were aged seven or younger.

From 89 runners over the last ten years only two of the last ten winners were aged eight or over.

The horses to carry top weight to victory in recent years are Burrough Hill Lad in 1984, Trabolgan in 2005 and Denman in 2007 & 2009

2.25 Newbury – Bet365 Long Distance Hurdle:

Seven of the last ten favourites have won. Five of them were odds-on.

Six of the last ten winners had won that season’s Ladbrokes World Hurdle.

Six of the last ten winners had previously won the race.

Paul Nicholls has won five of the last six runnings.

3.35 Newbury - Bet365 Handicap Chase:

Paul Nicholls last nine runners have resulted in three winners and two places.

Nine of the last ten winners were priced no bigger than 7-1.

2.05 Newcastle - StanJames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle:

Nine of the last ten winners came from the first two in the betting.

Eight of the last ten winners finished no worse than second on their most recent run.

Katchit in 2007 (third), Punjabi in 2008 (won) & Binocular 2009 (fifth) all ran in the Fighting Fifth before going on to win the Champion Hurdle that season.

Of all of the last ten winners who went on to run in the Champion Hurdle only Punjabi won. However four finished second and one third.

Nine of the last eleven winners went on to run in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton. Three won: 2004 Harchibald, 2009 Go Native & 2013 My Tent Or Yours.

Six of the last ten winners had finished no worse than third at the Cheltenham Festival earlier in the year (Top Notch was second in the Triumph Hurdle and Wicklow Brave won the County Hurdle)