Racing: Heavens opening for Blessed in Hennessy

THE LAST TIME Newbury held a race meeting, you could have enjoyed a picnic in the middle of the home straight without running the slightest risk of injury. Not so tomorrow, though, when easy going will ensure a healthy field for the Hennessy Gold Cup, and anyone who is feeling the November chill will be able to warm themselves on the glow of satisfaction radiating from Mark Kershaw, the clerk of the course.

When faced by a succession of pitiful fields three weeks ago, Kershaw pointed out that it would have been unwise to water the course so close to the Hennessy meeting. It was a far-sighted decision, since with 5mm of rain expected at Newbury tomorrow, the ground, which was already riding on the soft side of good, should be to everyone's liking by tomorrow afternoon.

Mark Pitman was the latest trainer to visit the track and praise its condition yesterday, clearing the way for Ever Blessed to take his place in the Hennessy.

"I was very happy, I thought the course was in super condition," Pitman said. "They've obviously worked very hard on it, there is a good covering of grass. The horse is very well and I think it will boil down to the fact that if he jumps well he will take a lot of beating, but if he makes any mistakes, he'll get beat. I think he's absolutely spot on."

The news had no effect on Ever Blessed's price for the big race, and he remains on offer at 6-1 with both Ladbrokes and Coral. Yesterday's movers were Djeddah (7-1 from 8-1) and Betty's Boy (12-1 from 16-1) with Ladbrokes, and Fiddling The Facts, third in the race last year, who is 9-1 from 11-1 with Coral.

There were 15 final declarations yesterday for the big Flat race of the weekend, Sunday's Japan Cup in Tokyo. There are three British-based entries, Alborada, Fruits Of Love and High-Rise, who are drawn nine, 11 and 12 respectively.

Europe's principal standard-bearer, though, is Montjeu, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner, who has been drawn out wide in stall 14, and whose chance would be further enhanced by any rain between now and off-time. Borgia, trained by Andre Fabre, and the German runner, Tiger Hill, are the other foreign challengers, while Special Week, third 12 months ago, looks to be the best of the eight-strong Japanese defence force.

The rather less exotic surroundings of Bangor may be the setting today for yet another benchmark performance by Martin Pipe, who has more records to his name these days than Boyzone and Britney combined. A double at Taunton yesterday left Pipe on 99 winners for the season, and one more today would take him to three figures more rapidly than even he has ever managed before.

"We had a couple of winners and a near miss here today and the horses all seem to be running very well," Pipe said at the Somerset track. "I'm actually going to Newbury tomorrow where we run six, but I think my best chances of winners is at Bangor where we will have a couple of runners, Big Wheel and Rash Remark, in the first two races."

Pipe has now saddled 22 winners in the last 14 days. "The run seemed to start when I went on holiday and my son David was in charge," he said, "so perhaps I should go away more often."

Alan Munro, though, has rather less to look forward to with relish. The jockey, who won the 1991 Derby on Generous, has been banned for more than two months after he was found guilty of failing to gain the best possible placing on Silent Partner in the last race at Sha Tin on Sunday.

The horse finished sixth of 14 after making late headway in a Class Two handicap. Munro will be allowed to ride at Sha Tin tomorrow, but will then be banned for the next 16 meetings, until 2 February.

RICHARD EDMONDSON

Nap: Courlis Pontet

(Newbury 3.00)

NB: Rash Remark

(Bangor 1.50)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £38,000

£22000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role is a mixture of office...

Recruitment Genius: Web Hosting Support Agent

£17100 - £20900 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the North West's leading...

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Health & Safety Support Tutor

£19000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Legal Assistant

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests