Friday, November 27, 2009

Hennessy Saturday and the Fighting Fifth

During the day two non-runners have been declared for tomorrow's Hennessy - Casey Jones and New Alco - leaving a field of nineteen to face the starter at 2.40. My view is basically unchanged from the opinions epxressed in yesterday's post; of the principals I like The Queen's Barbers Shop. Those looking for something at a bigger price may want to consider Nenuphar Collonges (now as low as 14/1 with several books) while Niche Market strikes me as a value play at 40/1.

Big Buck's will be expected to take the Long Distance Hurdle at 1.35 but he'll be no price and the remainder of the Newbury's card looks decidedly tricky...

Up at Newcastle there are just seven runners in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle which is due off at 1.50. According to the market this is a race between Binocular, third in the Champion Hurdle last March, and Irish raider Solwhit who showed an impressive turn of foot to beat Muirhead and Hurricane Fly at Punchestown thirteen days ago. Charles Byrnes, Solwhit's trainer, doesn't sound particularly confident beforehand. In stark contrast Robbie Hennessy, trainer of another Irish raider Sublimity, was pretty bullish about the chances of his charge when writing on his blog earlier today. The favourite has won eight of the last ten renewals of this race; Binocular has to be the selection.

Sublimity travelled over with stablemate Donegal who goes in the 12.40. This one, an expensive purchase at 200,000 guineas, has been well touted but he steps up in distance to two and three quarter miles here which makes me inclined to oppose. I'll take a chance with Ferdy Murphy's Going Wrong; in a recent article his handler said, 'For me he is one of those horses you get up early on a cold morning for.'

Cheltenham's Albert Bartlett winner Weapon's Amnesty continues his chasing education in the 1.15 - there's plenty of room for improvement. He showed a tendency to jump left the last time and then fell at the eighth. In contrast Abbeybraney's second to Barbers Shop at Sandown last December reads well - Abbeybraney gets the vote with Mumbles Head an interesting contender from west Wales.

The finale, the listed Rehearsal Chase, looks competitive. In the past decade the market has proved a decent enough guide with the winner coming from the first three in the betting on seven occasions. Keith Reveley's Jass is one that I like; he should benefit for his reappearance four weeks ago - I'll consider an each-way interest at 12/1 or bigger.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

Today we saw a truly sensational return to the track from Denman (11/4f) in the Hennessy. He carried 11 stones 12 pounds to victory on soft ground - this must rank amongst the great weight-carrying performances of all time. Paul Nicholls' charge was handy enough over the first circuit and then went about his business from the fifteenth. He put in a prodiguous leap at the cross fence but looked vulnerable two out as stable companion What A Friend (7/1), ridden by Sam Thomas of all people, came from the pursuers to throw down his challenge. Denman jumped the last in front and then went away from his rival to score by three and a half lengths, although the second didn't appear to do his chance any favours by wandering around at the last. A phenomenal performance, described by Mick Fitzgerald immediately afterwards as a 'Gold Cup winning performance'. This evening Ladbrokes bet 2/1 Kauto Star and Denman for the Cheltenham showpiece next March.
Niche Market (33/1) put in a fabulous effort, racing at the head of affairs for much of the trip before succumbing to Denman and What A Friend - he finished an excellent third, a short-head in front of Barbers Shop (13/2). Punters knew their fate early on with Nenuphar Collonges (16/1) who never travelled with any fluency, receiving reminders after the sixth; he finished well adrift of the principals in ninth.
At Newcastle the Fighting Fifth was run at a crawl for the first mile or so but the market leaders didn't feature in the finish as Go Native (25/1) beat Sublimity (20/1) with Solwhit (15/8) finishing third. Binocular (4/5f) came in a tame fifth; McCoy was one of the first to ask his mount for an effort but the pairing were beaten before the last. That has shaken up the Champion Hurdle market - this evening William Hill bet 5/1 Binocular, Hurricane Fly, Zaynar 6/1 Solwhit.
Going Wrong (11/4f) apppeared to be going very well as he led after the last but Bygones Of Brid (10/1) rallied gamely on the run-in to lead within the shadow of the post and beat the selection a neck. Donegal (7/1) never threatened and was beaten a distance in sixth.
In the novice chase Weapon's Amnesty (11/8f) jumped much better this time, beating Mumbles Head (9/2) four lengths, that one not helping his chance by hitting the third last. Abbeybraney (5/2) made a couple of jumping errors and looked tapped for toe, coming home a further two and a half lengths away in third.
Jass (8/1) was another who looked caught for toe on going that was quicker than might have been expected for this time of year (good to soft, good in places). He raced handily in fifth for the first circuit but lost his position as they went down the back straight. He stayed on well up the journey home, making several places to claim fourth behind Beat The Boys (14/1) without ever troubling the principals. A tougher test of stamina looks sure to suit.