One of the finest Hennessy's of recent years will be run tomorrow, but can Denman win it for a record third year? Below are my trends.
. Age 6-7
. 140+ OR
. Max 1 run season
. Max 1 run in handicap
. Won over 25f+
. 2+ Chase wins
. Won a handicap if run in one
. Run in Grade2+ Chase
. Won at least class 2 chase
. Placed off highest mark ever run off
. 147+ RPR in lifetime
. Won at Newbury if run
. Run in class 2+ last time
. Top 2 lto
. 2nd season chaser
. Won 14+ field
The top scorers were as followed;
16 - Weird Al, Burton Port
15 - Diamond Harry, Pandorama
14 - Hey Big Spender
To be honest the results aren't surprising with all the second season chasers coming out at the top the pile.
For me if his jumping is good, the most obvious winner in the race. He is deadly fresh and he sure to appreciate the ground/trip as well. Also he has a very good record at the course. The one horse who has form with all the English Novices last year is Knockara Beau, and through him, Diamond Harry comes out easily top at the weights. First time last year he also hammered Burton Port giving him tonnes of weight. What makes him so potentially well weight compared to the others is his Hurdle form. Over hurdles he would be running off a 12lb higher mark, and if his jumping sticks there's no reason why he can't be just as good a chaser as a hurdler.
Some horses often prove exception to statistics, and Denman is a definitely one of them. One of the greatest steeplechasers of our generation and he is sure to be there thereabouts tomorrow. 5/1 seems a fair price considering much of the field are out of the handicap and running 'wrong'. If the novices get into a rhythm then it's not hard to see them going close, but on the other hand Denman could easily just get into a rhythm out in front and put their jumping under pressure. Weird Al/Diamond Harry have never run in big fields and Pandaroma wasn't the best jumper in his 3 starts last term, and if they don't jump (like Long Run in the Paddy Power) they simply won't get near Denman. Paul Nicholls says he's as good as he's ever had him and seems to the think the main danger might come in the form of his stable mate, Taranis.
The Tother One
Considering he's one of the field who's got form of the kind of handicap mark it's not hard to see him going running a nice race. He's only going to have 9st9 on his back which equates to 151. He was only beaten by The Package (now 15lbs higher) at Cheltenham last December off a 1lb higher mark and if he runs to that kind of form he'll be close. His first start this year was in the Charlie Hall and he only finished 4l behind Nacarat. He's still relatively unexposed with only 6 finishs over fences and has only been unplaced on 2 of his 13 starts.
1.5pt E/W Diamond Harry - 9/1 William Hill (BOG)
1pt Win Denman - 5/1 William Hill (BOG)
0.5pt E/W The Tother One - 33/1 William Hill (BOG)