Smad Place shines in Hennessy romp
SMAD Place wowed the Newbury faithful with a stunning victory in the Hennessy Gold Cup on Saturday.
Attacking each fence with great venom, the 7-1 shot had plenty of his rivals in trouble long before the business end as Wayne Hutchinson continued to turn the screw at the head of affairs.
Runner-up Theatre Guide stayed on dourly from the rear of the field, but he was in a different county to the winner and was beaten out of sight by 12 lengths.
Trainer Alan King said: “We hoped for a good run but that’s taken my breath away.
“He loves to be up there and he deserved to win a big race as he’d been knocking on the door.”
Smad Place’s victory also had added poignancy for King after Barbury Castle stable lad John Goggin died last week following a car crash.
Thistlecrack is around the 10-1 mark to win the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham after he showed pluck and class to win the bet365 Long Distance Hurdle.
Trainer Colin Tizzard said: “We thought we’d give him a couple of runs over hurdles to see if he is good enough to challenge for the World Hurdle.
“On that run, he is good enough and will go to Ascot now (Long Walk Hurdle).”
Warren Greatrex said of the third-placed and reigning World Hurdle king Cole Harden: “It’s all about March (Cheltenham Festival) so it’s good to get the first one out of the way.”
Gavin Sheehan was aboard Cole Harden, but the rest of the day could not have gone any better for the jockey as he left the Berkshire circuit with a treble.