Hennessy Gold Cup: Many Clouds wins at Newbury for Aspell

Many Clouds wins the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury
Many Clouds wins the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury

Many Clouds stayed on well to win the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury for Grand National-winning rider Leighton Aspell.

The 8-1 victor, trained by Oliver Sherwood, beat the 50-1 top weight Houblon Des Obeaux, with Merry King in third and Monbeg Dude fourth.

Aspell, 38, retired in 2007, but came back and won the National at Aintree in April on Pineau De Rea.

After his Newbury win, he was hit with a seven-day ban and £1,800 fine for a whip offence.

BBC racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght
"I can't remember a more exuberant reception for a winner outside the big festivals: part was because Oliver Sherwood is locally-based, but more was sheer delight that the popular trainer was back in the big time - where once he was a regular - after "a few bare patches". Many Clouds defied a pretty big weight and relished the longer distance to make a go at March's Cheltenham Gold Cup a realistic hope. The stamina of the favourite, Djakadam, didn't appear to last out."

Trainer Paul Nicholls clocked up the 100th Grade One victory of his career when Irving won the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle.

An emotional Nicholls, who was at Newbury for the Hennessy meeting, praised his landlord, Paul Barber.

"I never thought I would reach this landmark. There was only one man who believed in me," said Nicholls, whose first Grade One win came with See More Indians in the Feltham Novices' Chase in 1993.

"That was Paul Barber, he'll be watching from home and will be mighty proud of me. He's a great man and will be enjoying this as much as me."

Nicholls has gone on to be champion trainer seven times, and has won the Gold Cup with See More Business, Kauto Star and Denman.

Lambourn trainer Sherwood was tasting victory again at Newbury after winning the Hennessy with Arctic Call back in 1990.

Many Clouds was quoted at about 16-1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March after his three-and-a-quarter length triumph.

"He's still got a bit to go to get up to Gold Cup class, but you've got to keep dreaming. He'll certainly have an entry," said Sherwood.

The first three home are all relative youngsters at the age of seven, while Monbeg Dude won the Welsh National two years ago.

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