Venetia Williams eyes Hennessy with last year’s runner-up Houblon Des Obeaux

Newbury Racecourse. Pic: Gavin James/GJ Multimedia (Courtesy of Newbury Racecourse).

Newbury Racecourse. Pic: Gavin James/GJ Multimedia (Courtesy of Newbury Racecourse).

By Simon Jackson.

Houblon Des Obeaux was second in the 2014 Hennessy Gold Cup and trainer Venetia Williams hopes for another good run after he was allotted 10st 7lbs for this year’s race.

The eight-year-old carried joint top-weight of 11st 12lbs last year when finishing runner-up, three and a quarter lengths behind subsequent Crabbie’s Grand National winner Many Clouds.

Houblon Des Obeaux followed up with second places at Ascot and Newbury, before finishing 11th in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup and then falling in the Coral Scottish Grand National.

Williams’ charge was ninth under top-weight on his seasonal reappearance at Ascot, on good ground, in late October and the trainer is hoping for softer ground for the £200,000 Hennessy on November 28.

“The plan is to go for the Hennessy Gold Cup again with Houblon Des Obeaux and he looks set to carry a bit less weight than what he is used to,” Williams said.

“I don’t think the weight affected him too much on his seasonal reappearance at Ascot, but the ground wasn’t really what he wants as it was a bit quick.

“He prefers it softer as when there is more give it just slows down the pace which suits him. He always seems to run well at Newbury.

“I don’t think my other entry Saroque (8st 11lb) will run as he is unlikely to be in the handicap and I would want him to be in the handicap to run.”

Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Coneygree has been allotted 11st 9lbs for the Hennessy where the weights are headed by Don Cossack (11st 12lbs). The weights look set to rise by three pounds as Don Cossack’s trainer, Gordon Elliott, has indicated that the eight-year-old is likely to head elsewhere.

Coneygree impressed on his comeback when coasting to a 25-length victory at Sandown Park on November 8.

Hennessy Gold Cup – bet365 bet: 9/2 Coneygree; 5/1 Saphir du Rheu; 10/1 Vroum Mag; 11/1 Don Poli; 12/1 Don Cossack, Smad Place, Bobs Worth, Pendra; 14/1 Valseur Lido; 16/1 Dynaste, Ballynagour, The Druids Nephew, Kings Palace, The Young Master; 20/1 Sam Winner, Southfield Theatre, Virak, Fingal Bay, Monetaire, Ned Stark; 25/1 Menorah, Rocky Creek, Unioniste, Spring Heeled, Le Reve, If In Doubt, Just A Par, Benbens, Sausalito Sunrise, Easter Day, Urano; 33/1 The Giant Bolster, Houblon des Obeaux, Triolo d’Alene, Un Ace, Splash of Ginge, Ballycasey, First Lieutenant, Carole’s Destrier, Cloudy Too, Present View, Deputy Dan, Theatre Guide, La Vaticane; 40/1 Fox Appeal, Annacotty, Lost Legend, Royal Player; 50/1 Seventh Sky, Al Co, Horizontal Speed, Godsmejudge, No Buts, Algernon Pazham, Cogry, Saroque, Mountainous, African Gold

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