Short post, dear reader, but a good one (I hope).
I believe that I've found the winner of the 2009 Hennessy, and I'm quite confident about that too.
The trends point to the same two horses over and over again:
- 9 out of the last ten winners were 6 or 7 years old
- 9 out of ten had run once this season or were making their seasonal debut
- Of the four seasonal debutantes, three won their last race last season and the other was second in the Bet365 Gold Cup as a novice
- 8 out of the ten had between four and six chase runs (the other two had 16 and 29 (!) runs!)
- Seven of the last eight carried 10-12 or more, but... the one who didn't - Celestial Gold in 2004 - carried 10-05 when the topweight lugged 11-10 and the next in carried fully eleven pounds less).
It's a similar story this year, with Denman spotting twelve pounds and more to the rest of the field. With that in mind, I'm happy to relax the weight criterion.
So, the above point squarely to:
Killyglen (Nap), whose five runs over fences and going / distance preferences make him primed for a massive run; and,
What A Friend (Next Best), whose four runs and three wins also indicate a bold show is likely.
The one slight negative about the latter is that Paul Nicholls' horses have been needing the run this season, so his match fitness must be taken on trust.
Cappa Bleu is respected, but should have done better first time in a novice chase and, despite his reputation and the respect I have for his connections, I'll overlook him in favour of Killy and the Friend.
So there it is. I'm pretty strong on Killyglen, and take What A Friend to give him a race if fully tuned up on debut.
Denman? I love him but expect he might pull up. Ceding almost a stone and more with a dicky ticker on soft ground is a massive request of the former champ.