Denman, 4/1 Hennessy Favourite, Faces Herculean Task..

Paddy Power

Tagged under: 3.20 Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup Steeple Chase 3m 2 1/2f

Since it's inception in 1957 Newbury's Hennessy Gold Cup has produced some of the greatest weight carrying performances in National Hunt history, the greatest of which were Arkle's two victories under 12s 7lb in 1964 and 1965.

Only " Himself " and Mandarin boasted more than one win in the 3m 2f chase before Denman completed the double in 2007 and 2009 under the burdon of 11s 12lb.

The 10 year-old will attempt to be the first horse to achieve the treble on Saturday, but faces a formidable task against a field comprising some of the most talented young chasers in Britain and Ireland.

Set to carry 11s 12lb once again, the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner will have to concede between 18lb and 26lb to his 19 rivals, including a number who may well turn out to be of Gold Cup standard.

Weird Al, Burton Port, Diamond Harry and Pandorama are all highly talented second season chasers, any one of which has the potential to go on to play a leading role in the 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Currently the favourite for Saturday's contest at a general 4/1, Denman may be challenged for that position come the weekend, with many thinking that the weight concession may be too great on this occasion.

While there are many possible dangers, at this stage the best value could lie with the improving stayer Silver By Nature, at the 20/1 available with both Skybet and Paddy Power.

The Lucinda Russell trained grey gelding was entered for last Saturday's Betfair Chase but connections decided to wait for the 2f longer contest, especially with a featherweight of 10s to carry, as opposed to taking on Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander at level weights.

With an unsettled forecast for the rest of the week it is possible the race could be run in testing conditions, which would suit the 8 year-old down to the ground, and if that were the case the Welsh Grand National runner-up could well start at less than half of it's current odds.

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