Carole's Destrier worked this morning at Newbury
Trainers worked horses at Newbury Racecourse this morning ahead of the bet365 Festival at the course on Friday, November 25 and Saturday, November 26.
Nicky Henderson, successful three times in the feature race of the meeting, the Hennessy Gold Cup, which is being run for the 60th time, exercised the 2013 winner Triolo D’Alene (10st 6lb) and Vyta Du Roc (9st 13lb).
The Lambourn trainer was pleased with the results and hopes both his chasers can take part in the £200,000 Hennessy Gold Cup on Saturday, November 26.
The famous handicap chase has a safety limit of 24 runners and 42 horses were left in the race after today’s scratching stage.
Henderson said: “Triolo D’Alene, who has won the Hennessy before, is definitely going for the race again and I would like to run Vyta Du Roc if he gets in. I have left in Hadrian’s Approach (9st 9lb) too but he may be too low in the weights to make the field.
“Both Triolo D’Alene and Vyta Du Rock worked well this morning. That will have helped them a lot because we were held up by the dry spell.
“The weights will probably go up in the Hennessy and the race is looking open and you can see all sorts of horses that will be competitive, but you are never going to find a soft Hennessy – everybody wants to win it.
“I am hoping for lovely ground for Triolo D’Alene, who does not want it soft. I love Triolo and it would be great to see him come back and win the Hennessy again. He is in good form and he has had a good preparation. I would have liked to have got a race into him beforehand but that is why we have come here today.
“Vyta Du Roc looks well and I think he has a very realistic chance. He has the profile of an up and coming chaser and that is the sort you need for the Hennessy.
“Both Trabolgan (2005 winner) and Bobs Worth (2012 winner) were RSA winners coming here and, while Vyta Du Roc did not win an RSA, he did win a Reynoldstown. He is not quite as classy as they were but he is handicapped accordingly. He is a youngster who is progressing all the time. He would go on any ground except quick.
“Both of mine deserve to run and they wouldn’t be in the race if I didn’t think they had good chances.
“Newbury is my local track. I was born and bred about 10 miles away and the Hennessy is very, very special and has got a magic about it.
“It is the oldest sponsored horse race and it has been a legendary race for Newbury and for Berkshire.
“It is right up there with the very best races. Luckily, we have won it three times and would like to win it again.
“Newbury is a great racecourse and probably has the fairest track in the country – we love running horses here.”
Triolo D’Alene is priced up by bet365 at 33/1 and Vyta Du Roc at 14/1, while the Neil Mulholland-trained Carole’s Destrier (10st 4lb, pictured), who also worked this morning, is a 50/1 shot.
Carole’s Destrier worked with stable companion The Young Master, who unseated his amateur rider Sam Waley-Cohen at the first in the 2015 Hennessy.
Mulholland, who has made an excellent start to the 2016/17 Jump season, said: “The Hennessy is important in everybody’s season – it is a great race.
“The season is just feeling like it is getting underway – it was Cheltenham last week and the Hennessy next week. It is a fantastic race to be a part of.
“We were very happy with Carole’s Destrier this morning, but we would like to see a bit more rain before the race. James King, who rode him today, was pleased and that work will hopefully have put the horse right.
“You need to stay and jump in the Hennessy and Carole’s Destrier won the London National last year over further and is by no means a slouch but you need a lot of luck on the day for races like this.
“The Young Master, who won the bet365 Chase on his final start last season, has the long-term aim of the Grand National and he will go for the Becher Chase, over the National fences, on the first Saturday in December.
“The horses are running well – we are on 52 winners for the season, the second-highest score among trainers, behind only Paul (Nicholls) – and are obviously very happy. But, you are always trying to do better.
“Carole’s Destrier’s weight is likely to go up to 10st 8lb which would be brilliant news for us as it will enable Noel Fehily to take the ride – he cannot do 10st 4lb.
“The bet365 at the end of last season did not suit him but thankfully we had the winner of that race. You would hope the Hennessy would suit him – stamina is his forte and he jumps.”
bet365 bet on the Hennessy Gold Cup – 5/1 Native River, 10/1 Saphir Du Rheu, Un Temps Pour Tout, 12/1 Blaklion, O’Faolains Boy, 14/1 Smad Place, Outlander, Vyta Du Roc, 16/1 Empire Of Dirt, 20/1 Coneygree, Henri Parry Morgan, Monksland, 25/1 Irish Cavalier, Vicente, Third Intention, Holywell, 33/1 bar
Many Clouds has already won a Hennessy Gold Cup, taking the glory at Newbury in 2014, and was victorious in the 2015 Grand National at Aintree, the only horse to capture both races.
He is back on the Grand National trail again this year after finding the ground too soft in the 2016 renewal.
Sherwood explained: “Many Clouds will start his season at Aintree two weeks on Saturday in the race he ran in over the Mildmay Course last year and it will be a similar programme to last season’s.
“He made a gurgling noise mid-way through the Grand National earlier this year and we have had his soft palate cauterised.
“He has taken his work well and been very enthusiastic. I am very happy with him. He will school on Thursday but everything is going to plan at the moment.
“I wanted to bring Puffin Billy here today but, unfortunately, he wasn’t sound yesterday. He had a poisoned foot but is sound today. Fitness-wise, he is fine but he missed last season.
“I am half thinking of coming to the bet365 Festival on the first day (Friday, November 25) for the bet365 Long Distance Hurdle as I don’t want to run him under a big weight in a handicap.”
Henderson also worked ex-French four-year-old filly Omessa Has, with jockey Daryl Jacob up, and she is being aimed at the Listed bet365 Intermediate Limited Handicap Hurdle over two miles on the same card as the Hennessy Gold Cup.
You can view the 42 horses who remain engaged in the 2016 Hennessy Gold Cup here.