The Hennessy Gold Cup has been kind to second-season chasers in recent times, and there are a few decent-looking prospects in this race intending to confirm their graduation from Novice class.
At the current prices, Native River (5/1 generally) and Un Temps Pour Tout (8/1 generally) are less enticing betting prospects than the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained BLAKLION (12/1 in places).
The Gloucestershire-based trainer has been in scintillating form, and his star novice chaser looks a really interesting player in the race.
He is a Grade 1 winner, having picked up the RSA Chase in the spring thrashing the likes of More Of That and No More Heroes, where he looked a very strong stayer.
Then all three novices met off level-weights in the Mildmay Chase at Aintree in April on faster ground, where Native River got the better of what may have been two battle-weary horses in Un Temps Pour Tout and Blaklion – both of which had peaked with their victories at The Festival. Blaklion finished third behind Native River – who led from pillar-to-post – by 6l with David Pipe’s charge a further 7l behind.
Blaklion should be more suited to this race. It looks like it will be truly run and he likes to come off a decent gallop, the likely ground conditions should suit and will favour the lower weighted horses. Newbury is a galloping track with big fences, but Blaklion is a sound jumper and has raced well there in the past over timber.
He still has to carry 11st, but he receives 1lb from Native River and 4lb from Un Temps Pour Tout to help his cause.
It is also possible to argue that he boasts the best recent form of those novices who have stepped up to the full chasing division (recognising it remains early days). There is always a question-mark about how a horse will cope with the step-up, but there is no doubt in my mind that Blaklion is good enough.
He ran what I thought was a cracking race on his reappearance in the Charlie Hall Chase, where he challenged Cue Card and seemed to be travelling similarly in to the final straight only to run out-of-gas in the last 1f or so to finish behind Irish Cavalier. I put that down in-part to a lack of race fitness, and Nigels normally come on for the run which is encouraging.
Blaklion has already beaten his main rivals over fences as a novice and he could be ahead of them in terms of his chasing credentials on Saturday. He certainly doesn’t look like he should be twice the price of the favourite.
1pt win Blaklion @12/1 ante-post, Hennessy Gold Cup, Newbury
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