Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite, First Gold, will be in action at Newbury this weekend
Clues to the outcome of several of this season’s top races will be in evidence at Newbury on Saturday. First Gold, favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, steps out on the long road to the Festival, while Montifault attempts to climb through the chasing ranks in the Hennessy Gold Cup.
French trainer Francois Doumen has chosen the long distance hurdle to re-introduce First Gold, so impressive in last year’s King George V1 Chase at Kempton.
First Gold is already 5-1 market leader for the Gold Cup and a bold show here could see his odds tumble. Next stop is expected to be Kempton onBoxing Day for a second King George.
The Hennessy lives up to all its traditions as a top level handicap and Montifault, runaway winner on his reappearance at Wincanton, could be a good thing at the bottom of the handicap. Though he faces a hugestep up, taking on Lord Noelie, Commanche Court, Ad Hoc and Behrajan.
Behrajan gave all the right signals when an excellent third to Kingsmark on his reappearance at Haydock. He may the one Montifault has to beat, though one should not lose sight of the fact that Martin Pipe has laid out Take Control for this.
Chatam won the Hennessy first time out for the Pipe winner factory back in 1991 and Take Control has been primed to collect yet another Saturday feature for the Pipe-A P McCoycombination.
Stable companion Cyfor Malta, past winner of the Murphy’s Gold Cup as well as the John Hughes Trophy at Aintree, returns after a series of setbacks in the Ladbrokes Handicap Chase but may not be match fit and may not give weight to Red Ark, from the Grand National-winning stable of Norman Mason.
Nicky Henderson sends Landing Light all the way from Lambourn to Newcastle for the Pertemps Fighting Fifth Hurdle and the tip should be worth taking.