All alone: Smad Place and Wayne Hutchinson
SMAD PLACE’S runaway victory in the Hennessy Gold Cup was tinged with sadness as it came a week after young stable jockey and stable lad John Goggin was killed in a car crash.
The 20-year old would have been at the horses reins on parade, but was seriously injured in a three-car accident close to trainer Alan King’s Barbury stables on the A346 leading to Swindon.
The race itself became almost a procession for the grey that had finished fifth in last year’s race, when the trainer admitted that he had perhaps under-prepped the horse in the run-up.
But this year he was targeted at Newbury’s showpiece and responded superbly under jockey Wayne Hutchinson to go away form the field three fences out to go on and win by 12 lengths at an 8-1 starting price.
“He deserves a really big one,” said the trainer. “He's been knocking at the door.”
"It has been a difficult week for them as we lost John Goggin. While today is obviously great, it doesn't bring him back."
Theatre Guide and First Lieutenant took the next two places with Nicky Henderson’s Bobs Worth never really involved as he finished a distant sixth.
The showpiece day did have local successes. Eastbury trainer Ali Stronge saddled Royal Guardsman to win the bet365 Handicap Hurdle and Lambourn’s Warren Greatrex Claimed the inaugural Sir Peter O’Sullevan Memorial Handicap Chase with Aloomomo.