Although this year’s Hennessy looks as competitive as ever, it doesn’t seem anywhere near as classy as in previous seasons, so with that in mind, it make sense to look towards HOUBLON DES OBEAUX, who’s played a prominent role in the last two renewals.

Sixth behind Triolo D’Alene in 2013, Venetia Williams’ charge went four places better when finishing a creditable runner-up to Many Clouds twelve months ago and considering he had the steadier of 11st 12lb to shoulder, the performance was even more meritorious. The form of the race also couldn’t have worked out any better throughout the season with the winner going on to win the Grand National and the likes of Monbeg Dude (third in National), Smad Place (second in Betbright Cup), Unioniste (won big Sandown handicap), The Druids Nephew (won Ultima Business Solutions Chase at Cheltenham) and Djakadam (runner-up in Gold Cup) all going on to prove how strong the Newbury race was.

The son of Panoramic himself went on to run well behind subsequent Gold Cup hero Coneygree on his return visit to the Berkshire venue in the Betfair Denman Chase and although he went on to prove disappointing in the Gold Cup, that wouldn’t be the first time he’d run way below par at Prestbury Park. Shaping as though he’d be a good deal sharper for his seasonal reappearance when mid-division at Ascot the other day, the eight-year-old now returns to the scene of his best ever performances on ground that is likely to favour him more than plenty of others in the race (forecast for Saturday suggests plenty of wind and rain) and he makes plenty of appeal at 14/1 to finally land the big pot he deserves.

HOUBLON DES OBEAUX - 1pt e/w @ 14/1