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HORSE RACING: Nicky's Worth star billing at the Hennessy
6:00am Saturday 1st December 2012 in Sport
BOBS Worth aims to emulate Denman by graduating to full company with victory in today’s Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Newbury.
The Nicky Henderson-trained Bobs Worth won the RSA Chase in March and is pitched into this ultra-competitive Grade Three handicap on his first start back.
Paul Nicholls followed that plan with Denman in 2007 and he duly completed the big-race double.
Punters will be hoping the ante-post favourite can repeat the trick, despite being saddled with 11st 6lb.
"It was always where we were going to start," said Henderson.
"He stays and I think he handles soft ground.
"I'm not worried about his handicap mark as he's not going to go up sitting in his box - I don't think he's particularly well handicapped anyway.
"We do have a preference to go left-handed, so Newbury was the obvious way to go."
Stiff competition will come in the form of Tidal Bay who will be rode by Ruby Walsh.
Henderson has a second string to his bow in ex-Irish runner Roberto Goldback.
The 10-year-old was initially due to run at Newbury on Friday but the Seven Barrows handler had a late change of heart in midweek and will now let the recent nine-length Ascot winner take his chance.
Henderson has already toasted a winner at Newbury as the 7-2 Lyvius rode by Barry Geraghty came home comfortably in first place in the Sportingbet Intermediate Hurdle.
Alan King’s Hold on Julio will also be running in the Hennessy.
His horse caught the attention of many pundits with a fine third at Cheltenham on his seasonal return.
However, the horse disappointed when sent off joint-favourite in Grade Three company at the Cheltenham Festival. But trainer Alan King is sweet on his chances this time.
The Barbury Castle handler told his website, www.alankingracing.co.uk: "Hold On Julio represents us on Saturday and is unquestionably the best chance we've had of winning the prestigious handicap.
"He continues to improve and I couldn't be happier with his well-being. He's got a nice weight, should handle the ground and gets the trip well.
"In short, he ticks all the boxes and I'm hopeful of a big run."