Age knows no bounds for Tidal Bay & Imperial Commander

Paul Nicholls responsible for seven entries in his quest to win fourth Hennessy Gold Cup

29 October, 2013 – The entries for the £175,000 Hennessy Gold Cup (Saturday 30 November) at Newbury Racecourse were released today and Tidal Bay and Imperial Commander could bid to make history by becoming the first 12-year-olds to win the great race.

Paul Nicholls, who has won it three times as a trainer, has entered seven: Tidal Bay, Unioniste, Rolling Aces, Rocky Creek, Mon Parrain, Poungach and Aiteen Thirtythree. Rocky Creek could be the former champion trainer’s number one hope, being a seven-year-old second season chaser, a generation that has had great success in recent years.

The Irish haven’t landed the Hennessy Gold Cup since 1980 but Lord Windermere, trained by Jim Culloty, could bid to follow in the hoofprints of last year’s winner Bobs Worth, who had also taken the previous season’s RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

Champion Irish trainer Willie Mullins has five possible runners: Prince de Beauchene, Terminal, On His Own, Themoonandsixpence and Vesper Bell.

Venetia Williams is one of only two female trainers to win the Hennessy and she will be hopeful that her progressive seven-year-old Katenko can give her a second victory following Teeton Mill’s success in 1998.

Bobs Worth gave champion trainer Nicky Henderson his second win in the race 12 months ago and the Lambourn handler could potentially saddle Roberto Goldback, Triolo d’Alene and Hadrian’s Approach.

Other notable contenders are Cape Tribulation, Harry Topper, Opening Batsman, Our Father and Invictus. The latter hasn’t been seen since defeating Bobs Worth and Silviniaco Conti in the Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase at Ascot in February 2012 and Alan King’s inmate is an intriguing runner.

Stephen Higgins, Managing Director at Newbury Racecourse, said:

“We’re delighted with the entries for the Hennessy Gold Cup. Last year’s contest was incredible, with the front three all going on to win Grade 1 races later that season, and it proved once again what a great race it is.

“The crowd would love to see Tidal Bay and Imperial Commander take their place in the line-up and it would be just fascinating to see how they fare against the younger brigade like Lord Windermere, Katenko and Rocky Creek.”

The three-day meeting, which culminates with the 57th running of the Hennessy Gold Cup, will be known as the ‘Hennessy Heritage Festival’ to reflect its status as Europe’s longest running sporting sponsorship.

The Hennessy Gold Cup has been won by some top class horses over the decades and last year’s victor Bobs Worth went on to triumph in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March. Other races over the three days include the bet365 Intermediate Hurdle, The RSA Novices’ Chase, The Fuller’s Pride Novices’ Steeple Chase and bet365 Long Distance Hurdle, won in recent years by the greatest stayer of all time Big Buck’s. Total prize money of £570,000 is up for grabs over the three days, an increase of 20% on 2012.

The Hennessy Heritage Festival is about much more than just the first class racing and Newbury Racecourse offers exceptional restaurant and private box options. The Hennessy restaurant features panoramic views of the whole racecourse and is a perfect location to see all of the action.

Ticket prices start from £20 for Grandstand and £30 for Premier Enclosure, and the three-day Premier Enclosure ticket is £75 and includes a collectable limited edition badge. For booking and more information visit www.racecoursenewbury.co.uk.

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