Newbury 15:00 Hennessy Gold Cup Chase
This is an excellent renewal of the Hennessy Gold Cup Chase with any number of the runners capable of winning. Due to this it is a very open betting event and I think there is plenty of value to be found because of this.
Saphir Du Rheu for Paul Nicholls is at the top of the handicap and the favourite. He has won both of his chases so far and his second in the world hurdle at Cheltenham shows he relishes a stamina test. However, the conditions are going to be really testing and having to carry 11 stone 12 pounds around here in those conditions is going to be tough and I am not convinced his jumping will hold up when the pressure is on. Therefore I think his price is definitely on the skinny side.
Bobs Worth was a slightly surprising winner over hurdles at Aintree on his first run this season, however it will take a much bigger effort to win this from a mark of 153. He did win this race three years ago from a seven pounds higher mark but he is not the same horse now and I would be surprised if he was good enough to make the frame today.
Smad Place won at kempton beating Fingal Bay by eight lengths although he is eight pounds worse off today. He has won on heavy going around Newbury before so conditions shouldn't pose too many problem and he was fifth in this race last year from the same mark. He will need to improve again to win this today and I think there may be one to two too good for him.
Houblon Des Obeaux for Venetia Williams didn't get into the race last time out at Ascot and finished midfield. However, in the Denman Chase at Newbury in February he got to within seven lengths of Gold Cup winner Coneygree whilst giving him a pound. I fancy a big performance from him today and he is good value to grab at least a place.
The Young Master was seven lengths behind Saphir Du Rheu over an inadequate trip but he is nine pounds better off with the favourite today and has Sam Waley-Cohen on board who is claiming a further three. That is quite a turnaround in the weights so I am expecting a really big run from him today and wouldn't be surprised to see him take this.
Tea In Transvaal looks a shoe in for the opening race and can get us off to a good start for the weekend. Her winning run came to an end last time out at Cheltenham where she finished fifth of nice, but that was a far superior race to this and now back racing against her own sex she looks heads and shoulders above the others. In my opinion it will take something out of the ordinary from one of the others to stop her and this is a very confident selection.
Newbury 15:00 - The Young Master - 1 point each way @ 10/1 (Most firms)
Newbury 15:00 - Houblon Des Obeaux - 1/2 point each way @ 14/1 (Bet365, Boylesport, Paddy Power)
Newbury 12:15 - Tea In Transvaal - 3 points @ 6/4 (Boylesport)