Aiteen among Hennessy contenders

Ante-post favourite Aiteen Thirtythree features among 19 confirmations for the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on Saturday.

Aiteen among Hennessy contenders

Ante-post favourite Aiteen Thirtythree features among 19 confirmations for the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on Saturday.

The Paul Nicholls-trained seven-year-old has won twice and finished second twice from four course starts and made a highly encouraging seasonal reappearance when second to Somersby at Kempton.

Part-owner Paul Barber said: “He’s on target to run all being well and lets hope he can run a good race.

“He ran nicely behind Somersby at Kempton and the Hennessy has been his target for quite a while.

“It’s just a question of keeping our fingers crossed and hoping for a good run on Saturday. Let’s hope we have a bit of fun, that’s what it’s all about.”

In-form champion trainer Nicholls has a strong hand as he goes in search for a fourth Hennessy win as a trainer, having also ridden the winner twice during his career in the saddle.

Neptune Collonges tops the weights, while stablemate Michel Le Bon is an interesting contender having not run since winning a novice chase at this meeting two years ago.

David Pipe’s Paddy Power Gold Cup hero Great Endeavour could bid for his second prestigious handicap of the season, while Wymott is a major player for Donald McCain.

Joncol and Muirhead could travel over from Ireland, Ian Williams could saddle the exciting Wayward Prince and Welsh handler Tim Vaughan is looking forward to running his Scottish National winner Beshabar.

He told At The Races: “The horse is being geared towards the Grand National really and he’s a horse who improves with every run.

“Last year he was a bit slow and deliberate on his first run and he improved to win a beginners’ chase at Doncaster. He just got better and better as the season unfolded.

“I think the track and trip should suit and it’s a great starting point. It’s super competitive and hopefully he can run a decent race and we can build on that as the season progresses.”

Planet Of Sound, Sarando, The Giant Bolster and Carruthers are others who remain in the reckoning for the weekend feature.

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