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Djakadam to face 18 in the Hennessy
27 Nov 2014 13:01
Hot favourite Djakadam is among a field of 19 declared for Saturday's Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.
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Willie Mullins' youngster will be attempting to create history as a five-year-old has yet to win the prestigious handicap.
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It is also a race in which Irish-trained horses traditionally do not fare well, although Mullins did win the 2002 renewal with Be My Royal only for the gelding to be disqualified subsequently.
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Djakadam is the only Irish representative in the historic race.
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Heading the weights are Venetia Williams' Houblon Des Obeaux and last year's winner Triolo D'Alene for Nicky Henderson.
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Others near the top of the handicap include 2013 runner-up Rocky Creek, David Pipe's Ballynagour and Alan King's RSA runner-up Smad Place.
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Philip Hobbs' Fingal Bay has his first run over fences for nearly two years, although he has won over hurdles at the Cheltenham Festival in the meantime.
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Oliver Sherwood's Many Clouds will have plenty of supporters after a fine comeback win at Carlisle, while Neil Mulholland's The Druid's Nephew has shown improved form for his new handler.
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Dan Skelton's What A Warrior has won both his starts since moving from Nigel Twiston-Davies, while Anncacotty runs for Martin Keighley and was a Grade One winner as a novice last season.
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Tony McCoy has returned from injury in time to partner Jonjo O'Neill's Merry King, fifth in last year's race.
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The Hennessy is one of very few major races the perennial champion has yet to win.
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Wychwoods Brook, Monbeg Dude, Unioniste, Vino Griego, Via Sundown, Midnight Prayer and Le Reve are the other runners.
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