Don Cossack heads handicap for star-studded Hennessy Gold Cup as weights are revealed

Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Coneygree has been allotted 11st 9lb in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on the third and final day of the bet365 Festival, Saturday, November 28.

The weights for the famous £200,000 handicap chase over three and a quarter miles are headed by Irish star Don Cossack (11st 12lb), but look set to rise by 3lb with his trainer Gordon Elliott indicating that the eight-year-old is almost certain to head elsewhere.

Likely top-weight Coneygree, trained locally by Mark Bradstock, is the 9/2 favourite with bet365 after a facile 25-length victory on his seasonal debut in the Listed Future Stars Chase over three miles at Sandown Park on November 8.


The eight-year-old (pictured right), still unbeaten over fences, will try to emulate fellow Gold Cup winner Denman. Denman defied 11st 12lb and a mammoth rating of 174 to win his second Hennessy Gold Cup in 2009, having also scored under top-weight for his first victory in 2007.

Denman’s handler Paul Nicholls, the champion Jump trainer, appears to have the biggest danger to Coneygree in Saphir Du Rheu (11st). The six-year-old made an inauspicious start over fences last season but got his act together at Aintree in April and readily dispatched The Young Master (Neil Mulholland, 10st 1lb) on his comeback in a two and a half mile intermediate chase at Carlisle on November 1.

Nicholls’ eight entries also include RSA Chase runner-up Southfield Theatre (10st 5lb), who was no match for Coneygree off level weights at Sandown Park, and bet365 Gold Cup victor Just A Par (9st 13lb).

Unbeaten chaser Vroum Vroum Mag (10st 5lb) kicks off her season in a Grade Three mares’ chase at Clonmel tomorrow. She leads a five-strong team for Ireland’s champion trainer Willie Mullins, alongside RSA Chase victor Don Poli (11st) and Valseur Lido (10st 8lb), who was a dual Grade One scorer last season.

Houblon Des Obeaux (10st 7lb, Venetia Williams) conceded weight all round when runner-up to Many Clouds (Oliver Sherwood, 11st 4lb), the subsequent Crabbie’s Grand National winner, in a terrific renewal of the Hennessy Gold Cup in 2014.

The eight-year-old returned to Newbury in February to chase home Coneygree in the Grade Two Betfair Denman Chase and ran respectably behind the same rival in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, coming sixth.

He is set to contest the Hennessy Gold Cup for the third time in 2015, having also stayed on to be sixth in 2013. Houblon Des Obeaux made his seasonal reappearance at Ascot on October 31, finishing ninth in a Grade Three handicap chase under top-weight.

In-form Herefordshire-based Williams reported: “The plan is to go for the Hennessy Gold Cup again with Houblon Des Obeaux and he looks set to carry a bit less weight than what he is used to.

“I don’t think the weight affected him too much on his seasonal reappearance at Ascot, but the ground wasn’t really what he wants as it was a bit quick.

“He prefers it softer as when there is more give it just slows down the pace which suits him. He always seems to run well at Newbury.

“I don’t think my other entry Saroque (8st 11lb) will run as he is unlikely to be in the handicap and I would want him to be in the handicap to run.”

Other notables in the Hennessy Gold Cup include Cheltenham Festival victor The Druids Nephew (Neil Mullholland, 10st 7lb), Smad Place (Alan King, 10st 6lb) and 2012 Hennessy Gold Cup winner Bobs Worth (Nicky Henderson, 10st 4lb) who won over hurdles at Aintree recently.

Hennessy Gold Cup – bet365 bet: 9/2 Coneygree; 5/1 Saphir du Rheu; 10/1 Vroum Mag; 11/1 Don Poli; 12/1 Don Cossack, Smad Place, Bobs Worth, Pendra; 14/1 Valseur Lido; 16/1 Dynaste, Ballynagour, The Druids Nephew, Kings Palace, The Young Master; 20/1 Sam Winner, Southfield Theatre, Virak, Fingal Bay, Monetaire, Ned Stark; 25/1 Menorah, Rocky Creek, Unioniste, Spring Heeled, Le Reve, If In Doubt, Just A Par, Benbens, Sausalito Sunrise, Easter Day, Urano; 33/1 The Giant Bolster, Houblon des Obeaux, Triolo d’Alene, Un Ace, Splash of Ginge, Ballycasey, First Lieutenant, Carole’s Destrier, Cloudy Too, Present View, Deputy Dan, Theatre Guide, La Vaticane; 40/1 Fox Appeal, Annacotty, Lost Legend, Royal Player; 50/1 Seventh Sky, Al Co, Horizontal Speed, Godsmejudge, No Buts, Algernon Pazham, Cogry, Saroque, Mountainous, African Gold

The 2015 bet365 Festival runs for three days from Thursday, November 26.

For more details and tickets, please visit  or call 01635 40015.


The Hennessy Gold Cup

Grade 3 handicap chase, £200,000 total prize fund. Saturday, November 28, 3m 1f 214y. For four-year-olds and upwards. Penalties: after November 8, a winner of a chase 4lb, a winner of two chases 7lb; no penalty to increase a horse’s weight above 11st 12lb. Entries closed October 27, entries revealed October 28 (60 entries  – CUE CARD subsequently scratched), weights revealed November 11, scratchings deadline November 17, five-day confirmations November 23, final declarations November 26. Maximum field 24 runners.


Horse Age Wgt Owner Trainer
DON COSSACK (GER) 8 11-12 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE
CONEYGREE 8 11-09 The Max Partnership Mark Bradstock
MENORAH (IRE) 10 11-04 Diana Whateley Philip Hobbs
MANY CLOUDS (IRE) 8 11-04 Trevor Hemmings Oliver Sherwood
DYNASTE (FR) 9 11-02 John White David Pipe
SAPHIR DU RHEU (FR) 6 11-00 The Stewart Family Paul Nicholls
DON POLI (IRE) 6 11-00 Gigginstown House Stud Willie Mullins IRE
BALLYNAGOUR (IRE) 9 11-00 Allan Stennett David Pipe
ROCKY CREEK (IRE) 9 10-11 The Johnson & Stewart Families Paul Nicholls
SAM WINNER (FR) 8 10-11 Angela Yeoman Paul Nicholls
UNIONISTE (FR) 7 10-09 John Hales Paul Nicholls
VALSEUR LIDO (FR) 6 10-08 Gigginstown House Stud Willie Mullins IRE
THE DRUIDS NEPHEW (IRE) 8 10-07 The Stonehenge Druids Neil Mulholland
THE GIANT BOLSTER 10 10-07 Simon Hunt & Gary Lambton David Bridgwater
HOUBLON DES OBEAUX (FR) 8 10-07 Mrs Julian Blackwell Venetia Williams
SMAD PLACE (FR) 8 10-06 Mrs Peter Andrews Alan King
KINGS PALACE (IRE) 7 10-05 Drew, George & Johnson Family David Pipe
SOUTHFIELD THEATRE (IRE) 7 10-05 Angela Yeoman Paul Nicholls
VROUM VROUM MAG (FR) 6 10-05 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
BOBS WORTH (IRE) 10 10-04 The Not Afraid Partnership Nicky Henderson
VIRAK (FR) 6 10-04 Hills of Ledbury (Aga) Paul Nicholls
FOX APPEAL (IRE) 8 10-03 The Hawk Inn Syndicate 3 Emma Lavelle
TRIOLO D’ALENE (FR) 8 10-03 Mr & Mrs Sandy Orr Nicky Henderson
THE YOUNG MASTER 6 10-01 Dajam Ltd Neil Mulholland
UN ACE (FR) 7 10-00 Ace In The Pack Partnership Kim Bailey
SPLASH OF GINGE 7 10-00 John Neild Nigel Twiston-Davies
SPRING HEELED (IRE) 8 10-00 Dr Ronan Lambe Jim Culloty IRE
LE REVE (IRE) 7 10-00 P H Betts Lucy Wadham
IF IN DOUBT (IRE) 7 10-00 J P McManus Philip Hobbs
BALLYCASEY (IRE) 8 9-13 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
JUST A PAR (IRE) 8 9-13 Graham Roach & Paul Barber Paul Nicholls
FIRST LIEUTENANT (IRE) 10 9-12 Gigginstown House Stud Mouse Morris IRE
ANNACOTTY (IRE) 7 9-12 Mrs Peter Prowting Alan King
SEVENTH SKY (GER) 8 9-12 John Heron Charlie Mann
PENDRA (IRE) 7 9-12 J P McManus Charlie Longsdon
CAROLE’S DESTRIER 7 9-11 Mrs C Skipworth Neil Mulholland
LOST LEGEND (IRE) 8 9-10 Gay Smith Jonjo O’Neill
CLOUDY TOO (IRE) 9 9-10 Formulated Polymer Products Ltd Sue Smith
FINGAL BAY (IRE) 9 9-09 Carol Skan Philip Hobbs
BENBENS (IRE) 10 9-09 S Such & C G Paletta Nigel Twiston-Davies
SAUSALITO SUNRISE (IRE) 7 9-09 Diana Whateley Philip Hobbs
ROYAL PLAYER 6 9-09 Diana Whateley Philip Hobbs
PRESENT VIEW 7 9-08 Sir Chips Keswick Jamie Snowden
EASTER DAY (FR) 7 9-07 Broughton Thermal Insulation, B Fulton Paul Nicholls
AL CO (FR) 10 9-06 F Lloyd Peter Bowen
MONETAIRE (FR) 9 9-06 Allan Stennett David Pipe
NED STARK (IRE) 7 9-05 The Dunkley & Reilly Partnership Alan King
URANO (FR) 7 9-05 Mrs M McMahon/Philip Reynolds Willie Mullins IRE
DEPUTY DAN (IRE) 7 9-04 Tim Syder Oliver Sherwood
HORIZONTAL SPEED (IRE) 7 9-04 Favourites Racing Ltd David Dennis
THEATRE GUIDE (IRE) 8 9-04 Jean Bishop Colin Tizzard
GODSMEJUDGE (IRE) 9 9-04 Favourites Racing Ltd David Dennis
NO BUTS 7 9-01 Wontcostalot Partnership David Bridgwater
ALGERNON PAZHAM (IRE) 6 9-00 Graham and Alison Jelley Nigel Twiston-Davies
COGRY 6 9-00 Graham and Alison Jelley Nigel Twiston-Davies
LA VATICANE (FR) 6 8-13 Maria Bukhtoyarova David Pipe
SAROQUE (IRE) 8 8-11 A Brooks Venetia Williams
MOUNTAINOUS (IRE) 10 8-11 Hartley Phillips Roseff Shields Kerry Lee
AFRICAN GOLD (IRE) 7 8-10 Walters Plant, J & J Potter & Egan Nigel Twiston-Davies


59 entries remain (CUE CARD scratched)

8 Irish-trained