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The Hennessy Gold Cup stands with great statue as one of the leading chase’s of the National Hunt season and we have expert horse racing tips for the famous race.

Raced at Newbury in late November or early December, the Hennessy is a Grade Three handicap chase for horses aged four or older. The contest is over a distance of 3m2f and features 21 steeplechase fences. 

newbury's famous handicap

Founded in 1957, the Hennessy Gold Cup handicap chase was originally held at Cheltenham racecourse before switching to Newbury in 1960. The first winner of the race was a horse named Mandarin, owned by Peggy Hennessy who was a part of the family that founded Hennessy, the long-term sponsor of the contest. In 2015, Hennessy’s association with Newbury’s premier handicap chase became the longest running partnership in British racing and has seen the race excel in recent years.

The Hennessy Gold Cup is traditionally viewed as the first trial for the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March. Many second-season chasers attempt to showcase their talents for the first time in open company when utilising their potentially lenient handicap marks in the Hennessy Gold Cup. Bobs Worth in 2013 achieved the memorable double when winning the Hennessy and Cheltenham’s blue-riband event in the same season. It is an accomplishment widely-regarded as one of the toughest of the National Hunt campaign with very few runners capable of winning both lucrative prizes.

During the 2014/2015 jumps season, the Oliver Sherwood-trained Many Clouds became the first horse in racing history to win both the Hennessy Gold Cup and Grand National in the same season. It was a feat deemed as one of the greatest the sport has ever seen due to the fact that both races demand such exuberance from the National Hunt horse. Newbury’s 3m2f test is one in which sees stamina prevail due to the frantic early pace that meets its contenders. 

The timing of the Hennessy Gold Cup cements its position as one of the first established races of the new jump season and often gets the juices flowing of those eager racing fans that have waited all summer for top-class jumping action. With over £200,000 in the prize-pool, the Hennessy frequently attracts the best jump horses from across Britain and Ireland. The sport’s leading staying chasers are renowned for meeting in Newbury’s highlight handicap as a first taster for what the division will produce during the season. 

hennessy gold cup tips

To win a Hennessy, a horse must possess an abundance of stamina and fluent jumping. Newbury’s 21 fences offer a unique test for the National Hunt chaser and demands a consistent balance of concentration and rhythmic movement over obstacles. The success of Smad Place in 2015 showcased a fantastic blend of each vital component in winning a Hennessy. Alan King’s grey gelding jumped beautifully throughout the contest, forcing his rivals into submission through a deadly mixture of pace and chasing. 

Not only is the race at Newbury a great advert for the National Hunt game, but it also boasts a tremendous winter atmosphere for the general racegoer. Wintery fashion takes to centre stage on Hennessy Gold Cup as some of sport’s leading figures make the trip to the Berkshire track in hope of witnessing the unparalleled atmosphere of a prominent jump racing fixture.

hennessy gold cup history

The race as whole has produced many of racing’s greatest triumphant stories in recent years. The win of Denman in the 2009 renewal produced one of the most memorable experiences that the National Hunt game has ever witnessed. Shouldering top weight under jockey Ruby Walsh, Denman powered his way through the Hennessy field to win in emphatic style; cementing his place as one of the best chasers of all time. The horse had endured treatment for an irregular heartbeat 12 months prior to the win and was quickly discounted by many pundits who were unconvinced that he could return to the very top level.

However, under the tutorage of great trainer Paul Nicholls, Denman returned from the brink of retirement to storm up the Newbury straight in front of an ecstatic capacity crowd of over 18,000. His victory in 2009 showcased the emotion that the jump racing game brings to the wider public. Racing fans from across Britain and Ireland become increasingly gripped by the continued successes of their favourite National Hunt horses and often share their triumphs on a personal level. 

It is this superb medley of top-class jump racing, hair-raising atmosphere and winter fashion that makes Newbury’s Hennessy Gold Cup day one of the most exciting experiences of the season, and a must-see event for all racing enthusiasts.

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