Friday, November 25, 2011

The Hennessy and the Fighting Fifth

After Kauto's heroics in last week's Betfair Chase, this week's Hennessy just hasn't captured the imagination. Old-timers such as myself often witter on about the Hennessy going to a young up-and-coming sort but as Tom Segal points out in the Weekender, last season's top novices looked distinctly average in the Betfair. I bet Aiteen Thirtythree in the RSA last March but he's not the most proficient of jumpers; Wymott's stable jock Jason Maguire prefers Peddlers Cross at Bangor and a quick trip to Newcastle to partner Overturn; Great Endeavour looked good in the Paddy Power but hasn't won over further than two miles six while The Giant Bolster has failed to complete on four of his six chase starts. So, of the younger brigade, Wayward Prince, third in the RSA and fourth behind the well-regarded Quito De La Roque at Aintree three weeks later (Sarando beaten just a neck into second) makes some appeal; trainer Ian Williams sounds hopeful enough and in the past fortnight has sent out seven winners from 36 runners. Of the more established entrants, top weight Neptune Collonges has Harry Dereham take seven pounds off but didn't really hit the heights last season following a long break after injury - since 1957 only three horses older than nine have won: Mandarin (1961), Rondetto (1967) and Diamond Edge (1981). Blazing Bailey is an outside chance while there's a hint Beshabar has the National as his target. Running one pound out of the handicap, Carruthers finished sixth in this last year off a mark of 155 - he returns this time off 146 and ran well on his seasonal debut behind Galaxy Rock at Cheltenham a fortnight ago. Connections try a tongue-tie for the first-time - 20/1 with totesport looks reasonable each-way value. This evening two layers offer a quarter the odds five places on this race - bet365 and Paddy Power.

The sole tip to oblige last week was Overturn and many will tell me that was only because Oscar Whisky fell when challenging at the last. That said, I'm not inclined to desert him against former champion hurdler Binocular in the Fighting Fifth. Nicky Henderson's charge has been sent off an odds-on chance in this race on each of the past two runnings and has been beaten on both occasions. The word from the Henderson yard is their charge is fit and ready this year. Celestial Halo is worthy of every respect but at this evening's prices the 7/2 Ladbrokes offer about Overturn looks particularly tempting.

Big Buck's returns in Newbury's Long Distance Hurdle (2.35); pilot Ruby Walsh was stood down after a fall from Sollim earlier today but he is expected to be fit to ride tomorrow.

All eyes will be on Peddlers Cross who continues his education over the larger obstacles in the opener at Bangor (12.10). At the same track Scholastica goes in the concluding mares' bumper (3.35) and is worth noting for future reference whatever happens here.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

I manage to pull a stunt like this roughly once every ten years...

Carruthers (backed in from 20/1 to 10/1) won the Hennessy like a well-handicapped horse while Overturn (backed in from 7/2 to 7/4) took the Fighting Fifth without ever looking in any serious trouble - Binocular (5/4f) was four and a half lengths adrift in second.

And, to cap it all, at Bangor Scholastica (4/1) beat 2/1 favourite Brave Alliance one and a half lengths.

On all known previous form, next winner due sometime mid Janaury...