Oliver Sherwood targets Cheltenham Gold Cup with Many Clouds after Hennessy success

Leighton Aspell

Leighton Aspell has had a memorable year that has included victories in the Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup.

By Simon Jackson.

Oliver Sherwood is hopeful that Many Clouds can become a legitimate contender for the Cheltenham Gold Cup after his tenacious victory in the Hennessy Gold Cup.

Sherwood has expressed surprise at how well the seven-year-old has come out of the victory at Newbury on Saturday where he stayed on well to score by three and a quarter lengths for Grand National winning jockey Leighton Aspell.

The winner is now best priced at 20-1 but as short as 12-1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup on March 13 and Sherwood said on Sunday that he is likely to give him one more run before committing to the Gold Cup.

“He’s absolutely A1 this morning which has surprised me. I thought he’d be lying down for 48 hours. He’s eaten up and went out in the paddock very bright which is a huge positive,” Sherwood told At The Races.

“Handicaps are out of the question now. I’d have thought the handicapper will put him up something like six to 10 pounds. He’s got to go for these conditions races, so the Gold Cup does come into the equation.

“I’ve got to speak to Mick Meagher [owner Trevor Hemmings’ racing manager] and Mr Hemmings, but I’d have thought one conditions race in January time and then the Gold Cup if they want to have a crack at something like that. That’s my gut feeling.

“Subject to him showing me the right signs and the right vibes, he will race again this season with hopefully having a crack at the Gold Cup.

“He has got to improve more again to warrant a place in the Gold Cup, but who’s to say he won’t, and the dream is still alive.”

Read ‘Horse Talk with Simon Jackson’ at London24 for the latest horse racing news.