The Hennessy Gold Cup rarely disappoints. In an age when big field competitive handicaps are under threat, it’s a relief that this historic race has not been decimated.
On Saturday Many Clouds won an excellent running of this race. It’s a race that grabs my attention and keeps me watching, writes Vernon Grant.
While I was hoping 50/1 shot top weight Houblon Des Obeaux would hold on in the closing stages for an improbable win off top weight, it was likely that he would run out of steam carrying 11 stone 12 pounds. Many Clouds came past the Venetia Williams trained 7 year old gelding – whose legs had gone – and won the race by three and and a quarter lengths.
If the overpriced runner up Houblon Des Obeaux was not to win, then I was happy one of the less high profile trainers experienced victory in a Grade 3 race. The sheer joy of trainer Oliver Sherwood was there for all to see. He said of his big race win: “It doesn’t happen to me, well not for 25 years, but just chuffed to bits. A very tough horse.”
In a week when I witnessed tears of sadness cried by a stable lad whose horse died on a racetrack, it was special to watch the stable lass of Many Clouds crying tears of happiness.
The owner, the estimable Trevor Hemmings, could not be at Newbury to watch his horse triumph. But the sheer joy of all connections gathered in the winners’ enclosure was there all to see. It’s the upside of racing.
We as punters win some and we lose some. But the day we stop enjoying a race as good as the Hennessy Gold Cup, regardless of whether or not we’ve backed the winner, is the day we should close our accounts with the bookies and go find an allotment to take care of.