Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Aiteen remains ante-post favourite for Hennessy

The Paul Nicholls-trained Aiteen Thirtythree, a general 9/1 ante-post favourite for the Grade 3 Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on November 26 after finishing runner-up to the smart Somersby on his seasonal reappearance at Kempton at the end of last month, is reported in good shape ahead of his bid for glory at the Berkshire track in a few weeks time, writes Elliot Slater.

On the face of it finishing a three-length second in a three-runner race wouldn’t appear to be good enough form to win a race as competitive as the Hennessy Gold Cup, but the Old Vic gelding was a very progressive sort last term and the feeling appears to be that there is plenty more to come this season as the seven-year-old continues to mature. Making the running at Kempton on his seasonal bow over an inadequate two miles and five-furlongs, Aiteen Thirtythree jumped well but had no more to offer once the high-class Somersby moved by at the third from home, but Nicholls’ charge kept on at the one pace over the final two fences leaving the impression that he will come on significantly for the run. People following the Newbury Hennessy odds should bear this in mind.

With the winner being touted as a live threat to Long Run in the Grade 1 King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day, time might well prove that Aiteen Thirtythree ran with more credit than was given at the time in finishing an honest second to Henrietta Knight’s popular and highly talented chaser. 

Off a mark of 152 Nicholls’ big race hope will be towards the top of the weights for the three-and-a-quarter mile Newbury contest, but having impressed with his jumping on his first two chase outings last term before pulling up when strongly fancied for the RSA Chase at Cheltenham in March after being hampered three from home, there are many who believe the youngster is a potential Gold Cup horse of the future and could be ‘well in’ off a favourable mark.

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