Welcome to today's Follow The Money from Bangor and Newbury on Hennessy Gold Cup Day...
We start with our lay of the day who runs in the 12:30 at Bangor. Harry Fry's Mendip Express has been on the drift this morning from 2.6413/8 out to 3.613/5. The 7yo runs today after winning very well at Wetherby at the start of the month. Having started his career in the Point-to-Point scene he then went to Paul Nicholls and fell on his only start in a novice hurdle in 2011. He has since come under the guidance of Fry and could not have been more impressive on his debut over fences. However, today's opposition are a completely different kettle of fish with both Bob Ford and Swatow Typhoon being very well backed this morning. The latter comes from the Donald McCain yard and he will be desperate to win this with the race being named after his father. He has also been impressive on the Point to Point scene, racking up a hat-trick a few months ago. With that in mind and the drift on selection, we suggest a lay of 3.613/5.
The first back of the day is Valdez who runs in the 12:50 at Newbury. The Alan King trained Gelding has been backed from a morning high of 3.711/4 in to 3.259/4. The 6yo will be having his second career chase start today after winning comfortably two weeks ago at Exeter in a Beginners Chase. His hurdle form last season was quite impressive ending the season with a 1.5 length defeat to the well thought of Whisper of Nicky Henderson, and a mark of 132. He is giving 8lbs away today to a new French recruit of Paul Nicholls called Black River, who is the current short priced favourite; however with our boy being backed quite heavily a chance has to be taken on him at 3.259/4.
Our final back of the day runs in the big race, the Hennessy at Newbury 15:00. Loch Ba has had strong support since the day of the race market was loaded onto the exchange on Thursday, being backed from a high of 40.039/1 in to 23.022/1. There is no getting away from the fact that this is one of the most open Hennessy's in recent history, with no Denman or Bobs Worth in there it could be argued that there is no real "class animal", and the market would suggest this with 10.09/1 the field. Backers seem to be searching for value and a lot of the value seems to side with Loch Ba. The Mick Channon 7yo comes into this today with just 10-1 on his back, only Whodoyouthink carries less. His last run was a second to Midnight Appeal at Bangor; however the ground was dire that day and the return to better ground should be very much to his liking. He is racing 8lbs higher than his last winning mark, however after being well backed at the Festival (disappointing before being un-seated) and Aintree (ran a good fifth) connections and backers clearly feel he is still very well handicapped. Due to the solid support and a good profile for this race, a back of 23.022/1 is very good value in an open race.