Author: Alan Kelly
Published: 15:20 06/02/2015
The first of our two ante-post selections for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup (both non-runner-no-bet) Smad Place enhanced his claims for next month's championship contest with a highly creditable second behind Hennessy Gold Cup winner Many Clouds in the BetBright Gold Cup recently and the Venetia Williams-trained Houblon Des Obeaux can do the same by taking Newbury's Betfair Denman Chase on Saturday afternoon.
The eight-year-old put up arguably one of the most impressive performances by a staying chaser this season when failing by just over three lengths to give Many Clouds 6lb in Newbury's famous handicap last November, only giving best after jumping the final fence under regular pilot Aidan Coleman a run which was followed by another excellent effort to run the potentially top class The Young Master to two and a half lengths in Ascot's Mappin And Webb Silver Cup Handicap Chase in which Neil Mulholland's son of Echo Of Light was receiving a massive 17lb.
Third that day was Le Reve ( receiving 22lb ) who has since gone on to easily land a valuable Sandown handicap making the form look rock solid and with both Harry Topper and Unioniste having to give Houblon Des Obeaux 5lb in Newbury's Gold Cup trial everything is in the favour of the selection who may have most to fear from the talented novice Coneygree, but the mount of Richard Johnson looks up against it on tomorrow's terms while last season's JLT winner Taquin Du Seuil will need to put a lacklustre run at Haydock behind him to fuigure prominantly although the Jonjo O'Neill stable is in much better fettle now.
Houblon Des Obeaux - 1 Point Win 3-1 Generally (Bet365)