New Waley-Cohen link to Hennessy Gold Cup hope The Young Master who worked this morning at Newbury

Trainers worked 10 horses at Newbury this morning ahead of next week’s bet365 Festival featuring the Hennessy Gold Cup and the major news was the purchase by owners, Robert Waley-Cohen, Sir Martin Broughton and Steve Broughton of a half-share in big-race contender The Young Master, who is trained by Neil Mulholland.

Leading amateur rider Sam Waley-Cohen, who schooled The Young Master two Sundays ago before his father and partners purchased the half-share, rode the six-year-old in work alongside stable companion The Druids Nephew who is also a contender for the £200,000 Hennessy Gold Cup. The Young Master finished ahead of The Druids Nephew. They are both 14/1 chances for the Hennessy with bet365.

Robert Waley-Cohen, an interested spectator along with Mulholland (pictured below), said: “Mike Burbidge of Dajam Ltd, the existing owner, retains half of The Young Master. Martin Broughton, Steve Broughton and I have bought the other half – we got together previously for Oscar Time.

“We were going to call ourselves the Young Masters as a syndicate name but Martin took one look at us and said we should call ourselves the Old Masters so hopefully we will run the horse under the ownership of Dajam and the Old Masters which sounds like a 1960s rock band!

“Sam will ride The Young Master. It came about because we wanted to be involved. We rang up and the answer was yes. The Hennessy Gold Cup is the first target and he will be entered in the Welsh National and Neil is adamant that he won’t run him in the Grand National this year, but maybe in 2017.

“It is very exciting. The Young Master is a 150-rated six-year-old chaser and there is still some physical development to come. Sam claiming 3lb off in the Hennessy is probably quite useful.


“We always have Sam sit on horses first, give them a canter and pop them over a fence or two. We did that with Oscar Time and Warne. Sam tried The Young Master out two Sundays ago and said that will do. Noel Fehily rides The Druids Nephew.

“Neil Mulholland has done a great job with The Young Master and will keep the horse.”

Sam Waley-Cohen added: “Oscar Time has now retired and the guys involved fancied having another horse which is why they are now part of The Young Master. He is a horse everyone noticed last season – Neil did an incredible job with him.

“He is a lovely horse and a real old pro despite being only six. He is a big horse and worked well this morning, handled the ground and kept picking up. He is a beautiful jumper and it is a thrill be part of a horse like this.

“The Hennessy is one of the big races of the year and it is what you dream about. I have only ridden in it once. I had to virtually cut both my legs off to make the weight and the horse could not breathe (Frisco Depot who was pulled up in 2012).”

Richard Osgood, Newbury’s Clerk of the Course, reported the chase course to be good to soft this morning before rain arrived in the afternoon.

He said: “We had five millimetres of rain last week plus two and half millimetres last night. Today is forecast to be the worst for rain and we could have five to 10 millimetres. Then showers are forecast before a dry and colder weekend. Next week the forecast is for unsettled weather at the start, while it will be mostly dry during the three days of the bet365 Festival. The horses worked on the Flat course today which is much softer.

“We have rebuilt six fences this year – we normally do five but felt the cross fence needed to be done as well. The course looks in fantastic condition.”

Julian Thick, Chief Executive of Newbury Racecourse, said: “There is a huge amount going on at Newbury for the racegoer, new infrastructure, new roads and the new bridge which is due to open on Thursday morning in time for the bet365 Festival.

“Our improvements to car parking are 90 per cent complete and we have spent money improving facilities so the whole of level one of the grandstand has been refurbished, with improved catering.  We have a new entrance and a new big screen so there is a lot going on. The most important thing is that racegoers will see benefits when they come next week.

“Prize money is up by £85,000 at the bet365 Festival, a 15 per cent improvement over the three days, with the Hennessy up £25,000 to £200,000. We have some very strong races across all three days, though in 2016 we are shrinking the meeting down to two days.

“We are looking forward to a great Festival next week.”