Smad Puts Rivals in Their Place
Coneygree was an absentee, but there was still the usual anticipation before a championship race as the runners left the paddock for the Bet365 Hennessy Gold Cup. One of the most prestigious races in the calender for which there was a competitve field assembled.
Heading the weights and the betting was the imposing Saphir De Rheu, would his jumping hold up to the test it was about to receive ?? Previous winner Bob's Worth was in the line up, a handicap good thing if you took the literal view that he was 7lb lower than his win in the race.
The tapes went back and the immediatley recognisable figure of Smad Place was bang there with Fingal Bay, along with the undeniable feeling that they were going too fast as they scorched along up front.
Heading past the stands first time and Smad Place took it up and went clear facing up down the back before a display of jumping that drew inevitable comparisons with champions of the past Denman and Dessie.
One by one the rivals made errors and in the case of Saphir De Rheu some very serious ones. A breather as they turned to face the cross fence, before Smad Place said goodbye to his pursuers once and for all and the race was over as a contest.
All the way up the straight this was a celebration of one of the very best performances you will see in a Hennessy or any staying championship race for that matter. He had put his rivals to the sword from the off and he would have been forgiven for getting tired towards the finish, but no forgiveness was required as the relentless stride did not falter, hitting the line with aplomb fully 12 lengths clear of his nearest adversary.
Simply a remorsless performance that will live long in the memory of those that witnessed it !!
(Only a handful of photos from me as the day was a social one with friends and family but one I will never forget )