JumpIng fans, starved of action this week as meetings have been lost left, right and centre to the weather, are in for a treat as the three-day Hennessy Gold Cup fixture gets underway at Newbury today.
Nicky Henderson, based at nearby Lambourn, is the trainer to follow at this popular Berkshire venue and he can reward his supporters by saddling a brace of winners on a cracking card.
Henderson runs Lyvius in the featured £35,000 Sportingbet Intermediate Hurdle and the talented four-year-old is fancied to come out on top on his seasonal bow, Twice a winner on the Flat in Germany, Lyvius won two of his four races over hurdles last season and looks the type to progress again this term. This is a tight contest, but Lyvius has the advantage of being at the foot of the handicap. He can capitalise and gain Listed glory.
Henderson is also selected to win with Otto The Great in the CSP Novices’ Handicap Hurdle.
The four-year-old has nine lengths to find on Ivor’s King on their last meeting at Ascot earlier this month, but he is now set to meet Colin Tizzard’s winner on 11lb better terms. Furthermore, whereas Ivor’s King was race-fit at Ascot, Otto The Great was reappearing after his summer break. He should strip fitter this time.
Venetia Williams is another trainer with double prospects on the Newbury programme.
Houblon Des Obeaux is very much the apple of Williams’ eye. He has impressed in his two outings this season and, despite rising in class in the GPG Novices’ Chase, he is taken to complete a hat-trick.
Williams can also score in the Sportingbet Handicap Chase with Rigadin De Beauchene, who should be all the better for his recent runner-up effort at Uttoxeter, which was his first outing since March.
Another Citizen, who has finished second on his last three outings to Wolverhampton, returns to his familiar venue tomorrow evening for another attempt to get his head in front on the Polytrack circuit.
Trained by Tim Easterby, whose horses – Flat and jumps – are in fine form, the gelding lines up for the wolverhampton-racecourse.co.uk Handicap and deserves every respect with Ted Durcan in the saddle.
Beaten a length and a half and three-quarters of a length on his previous two starts, Another Citizen failed by only a head to get the better of Gung Ho Jack here last Saturday.
It can surely be only a matter of time before Another Citizen elevates himself to the number one spot. A wide draw tomorrow is not that helpful, but the North Yorkshire sprinter is in such rude health that he commands respect yet again.
Bryan Smart has had to be patient with Boxing Shadows, who finished second at Musselburgh on his debut in May and filled third spot at Beverley the following month.
The juvenile has not been seen since, but Smart brings him back to the fray in the Download Our IPhone App Maiden Stakes and he should not be overlooked. Tom Eaves has the mount.
Michael Appleby, who has enjoyed a fine year from his Newark base, has good prospects with Lockantanks in the feature race on the card, the Wolverham-pton Holiday Inn Handicap.
The five-year-old went down fighting in a close third on his latest start and looks sure to be competitive again in this contest over the extended mile.
Jonjo O’Neill may be better known as a trainer of jumpers, but the Jackdaws Castle handler has every chance of clinching the Book Horizons Restaurant Maiden Stakes with Vimiero, the mount of George Baker.
The five-year-old ran well on this course before joining O’Neill and his fitness is assured following a recent third-placed effort over hurdles at Huntingdon. He is awarded the nap vote.
12.25 Kings Lad, 12.55 Kruzhlinin, 1.30 Otto The Great, 2.05 Houblon Des Obeaux, 2.40 Rigadin De Beauchene, 3.15 Lyvius, 3.45 Gone Too Far.
Today’s other meetings: Kempton, Taunton, Uttoxeter.
3.55 Modern Lady, 4.25 Boxing Shadows, 4.55 Claude Greenwood, 5.25 Vimiero (NAP), 5.55 Lockantanks, 6.25 My Single Malt, 6.55 Haftohaf, 7.25 Another Citizen.
Tomorrow’s other meetings: Doncaster, Musselburgh, Newbury.