The first of this weekend’s three betting tips comes in what is a fascinating renewal of the Denman Chase at Newbury. Houblon Des Obeaux warrants maximum respect as the top rated horse in the field, Venetia Williams’ eight-year-old comes into the race in decent form following two second place finishes in his two starts so far this campaign.
Another worthy of note is the lightly raced Coneygree who has put up a couple of bold jumping front running displays to record two wins following an 11 month absence from the track. He doesn’t have much to find on the ratings and is a threat to all if getting his own way in front. At the current prices though it is worth giving another chance to Kim Bailey’s Harry Topper who loves it around here. He has won on both previous visits to the track and can make it a hat-trick here. Those wins both came in Grade Two events on soft and heavy going, the latest of which was in this very race last when demolishing a decent field by 25 lengths. He has been given a couple of months off following a disappointing start to the current campaign, if returning anywhere near his best he must hold every chance. Take the 7/1 with Ladbrokes.
The next race on Newbury’s card sees the return to the track of champion chaser Sire De Grugy. Only four horses are showing up to take him on in the Game Spirit Chase and we don’t see anything to give him too much to worry about. The only question marks against him would be his fitness following an absence of 287 days and the fact that he has been beaten on his only previous visit to the track. We can largely dispel those doubts though as he has won on his first start in his previous two chasing seasons, whilst his defeat at the track came over hurdles. He is a different proposition altogether over the larger obstacles.
The presence of Uxizandre in the field will help ensure this is a true test at the trip which should enable Sire De Grugy to stamp his class on proceedings. He has eleven pounds in hand of his closest rival on official ratings and the likes of Mr Mole and Upsilon Bleu will have to step up considerably to trouble him. He is short at a best priced 4/5 with Sky Bet. He should be even shorter in our book and will take the world of beating in this.
Our third and final selection comes at Leopardstown on Sunday in what is the highest class race of the weekend. The 2015 edition of the Irish Hennessy Gold Cup looks a cracking renewal featuring a handful of horses with Cheltenham Gold Cup aspirations. We were beginning to have our doubts about On His Own as a result of two woeful performances following his somewhat unlucky second in last year’s Cheltenham showpiece. He proved himself a horse right out if the top draw that day when only failing by a short head in what was a thrilling finish.
His run last time out over this course and distance in the Lexus was hugely encouraging and shows Willie Mullins 11-year-old is coming to hand once again. He set a pretty brutal gallop that day and did well to only go down by a length and a half to the smart Road To Riches. That run should have him primed and ready for this. We take him to avenge his Gold Cup defeat to Lord Windermere and rate him a cut above his other main threats Boston Bob and Carlingford Lough. The 7/2 with Ladbrokes is worth snapping up.