Stewart hoping for Hennessy cheer

ANDY STEWART is trusting in his partnership with Paul Barber to turn his luck for the better when Aiteen Thirtythree lines up for the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury today.

The best Stewart can boast from his runners in the prestigious staying handicap chase is a fifth place, through My Will in 2008, while Barber has tasted success twice with the mighty Denman (2007 and 2009).

Aiteen Thirtythree seems to have a lot going for him as he is proven over the track, and is in the care of Paul Nicholls, who has won the race three times as a trainer to add to his two victories from his riding days.

“He won the good novice chase at this meeting last year and won it very impressively,” said Stewart.

“We know he likes Newbury and he’s got a good weight on his back with Neptune Collonges keeping the weights down.

“If Great Endeavour stays the trip I think that’s the one we’ve got to beat.

“I’m sure I’ll be stood next to his owner David Johnson watching the race as we’re good mates and it should be a great day.”

Nicholls has a strong hand as he also saddles top-weight Neptune Collonges, and the unexposed Michel Le Bon.

He said: “Neptune Collonges will only carry 11st 5lb (with Harry Derham’s claim) – he’s been used to carrying big weights in Grade One races.

“He’s a bit older and slower now, but, saying that, he’s a year younger than Kauto (Star), so you never know.”

Michel Le Bon has been absent since making a successful chasing debut on this course two years ago.

Great Endeavour’s trainer David Pipe is confident stamina will not be an issue for the Paddy Power Gold Cup winner.

“It’s not long since the Paddy Power, but he seems to have come out of the race well,” said David Pipe. “It looks like the ground is coming in our favour, drying out.

“Obviously, with 10st 9lb he has a great weight. He’s only got a 4lb penalty for the Paddy Power and he’s gone up 10lb.

“I think he’ll be all right over the distance and we’ll leave the tactics to Timmy – he knows what he’s doing.”

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