The Hennessy meeting at Newbury in November is one I always look forward to and was the scene of our first high-profile success, with Helen’s Vision winning the Listed Gerry Fielden Handicap Hurdle there back in 2008, beating Khyber Kim into second!
I am delighted that this year we will have a runner in the feature event for the first time, with Scottish Grand National winner Beshabar making his eagerly-awaited comeback in the Hennessy Gold Cup. He has done everything right at home since returning to training and we are all very much looking forward to his reappearance.
It would be fantastic to win the Gerry Fielden again and I have two entries in the race this year in First Fandango and Architrave.
First Fandango has made a great start to the season, placing on his first two runs in competitive events before winning at Leicester a week ago. He is off a career-high mark but is in the form of his life and we are hoping the drop back in trip shouldn’t be too much of a hindrance as Newbury requires an abundance of stamina.
Architrave has been disappointing so far this season but will be a well-handicapped horse if rediscovering his form, having been dropped to a mark of 117 from a initial 138 last season. He has more than enough ability to figure off his mark, though we wouldn’t run him from out of the handicap on Saturday.
We put recent Cheltenham second Stewarts House and exciting novice chaser Our Island in the Welsh National today and I am very hopeful that the latter will take a big step towards that race on Saturday, as he is likely to run in the 2m6f novices’ handicap chase. Though he will need a real test of stamina to be seen to best effect, the trip should be a real test around Newbury if the ground is on the soft side and the more rain the better for him.