Was it 26 years ago Forgive N'Forget won The Hennessy?
Published On February 12, 2012 | Uncategorized
Eight races at Leopardstown this Sunday where the Hennessy Gold Cup forms the centerpiece of an exciting card with a scheduled off time at 3.45 .First run in 1987 ,The Hennessy as it now known,has produced some memorable races over the years with the roll call of winners revealing the sheer strength in depth of the race.
Jimmy Fitzgerald’s prolific chaser Forgive N’ Forget was the inaugral winner of the race under Mark Dwyer in ’87 while a jockey, fast approaching the twilight of his career in the saddle, Paul Nicholls,was aboard Playschool the 1988 winner. John Upson’s popular chaser Nick The Brief scored in successive years in 1990 and 1991,while the greatest horse never to win a Cheltenham Gold Cup,Carvills Hill, scored in 1992 under Peter Scudamore having previously won the race in 1989 when in the care of Jim Dreaper.
The mid 90′s belonged to Peter Beaumont’s tough Yorkshire trained chaser Jodami, who racked up three in a row between 1993 and 1995, ridden on each occasion by Mark Dwyer. The 1998 running of the Hennessy is a race that will go down in memory as Danoli’s year. Returning after injury and sent off at 6-1 on his first run over three miles, Danoli saw off Jodami on the run in to return to ecstatic scenes in the parade ring. Sadly Jodami was never to race again after breaking down badly on the run in. Tom Foley and Peter Beaumont both left to ponder the fickleness of National Hunt racing after the Hennessy of 1998.
Dorans Pride scored under Richard Dunwoody in 1998 before Willie Mullins introduced a horse in 1999 who’s name was to become synonymous with the race. Archie O’Leary’s Florida Pearl completed a fabulous hat trick of victories in 1999,2000 and 2001. He missed out for a few years before returning in 2004 to boss his younger rivals into submission and complete a record breaking fourth win in the Hennessy.
Mike Hourigan will never forget Beef Or Salmon ,a horse that ran 51 times for the stable and won three Hennessy’s along the way in 2003, 2006 and 2007. Daryl Jacob went to the front early in 2008 aboard The Listener and was never caught while the Paul Nicholls Neptune Collonges returned home the winner in 2009, twenty years after he rode Playschool to victory in 1989. Paul Nolan’s Joncol kept the prize at home in 2010 while Willie Mullins turned out his seventh winner of the race in 2011 with Kempes, a horse that had won the Ulster Derby on the flat as a three year old.
Seven runners face the starter this year in what looks an open renewal where, with the exception of Treacle,the field are separated by only four pounds on official ratings. Jessica Harrington will fancy her chances with Boston’s Angel a horse who won the RSA at Cheltenham last season. Absent since November, Boston’s Angel appears to go on any ground,has course and distance winning form and hails from a very much in form stable. China Rock is a precocious individual who had been on the sidelines for a while before making a pleasing reappearance over hurdles recently. Oliver McKiernan’s Follow The Plan produced a super performance when taking the Guinness Gold Cup at the Punchestown festival last spring and his latest run at Thurles suggested he is coming back to something near his best. Magnaminity was a smart novice last season and while his comeback run in The Lexus was ordinary do remember he was less than a length off Boston’s Angel in the RSA at Cheltenham.
Quel Espirit may well go off favourite to give Ruby Walsh his first winner of the Hennessy for Willie Mullins, following impressive wins at Naas and Thurles. Robert Goldback didn’t run a bad race in the Lexus behind Synchronised while Treacle would appear to have it do on official ratings .
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