If Ladbrokes did Cognac, it would probably be called Hennessy

The Hennessy, The Schweppes, The Whitbread and The Massey-Ferguson. Capital The. It’s a Proper Noun, It’s also a Proper Racing Name and as such should have a BHA rule. This should state that, if you sponsor a race for over thirty years and you haven’t gone bust, the race will always carry your brand. Not in that awful “registered as” contortion – which makes the whole racing industry so not “now”, but in a straightforward The Whitbread Gold Cup, sponsored by WhizzyBet.* But no, we must now remember it’s the Ladbrokes, until the BHA, Government, or some nameless quango, hack off the bookmakers’ lobby, and they withdraw. We won’t care though, because it will still be The Hennessy, only this time it will be sponsored by BettyWhiz.*.

*WhizzyBet and BettyWhiz are registered trademarks of The Raceweb Insouciant Corporation

  • Question 1. Where was the inaugural 1957 Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup first run? Cheltenham. The winner was Mandarin, who was owned by Peggy Hennessy. It didn’t arrive at Newbury until 1960,
  • Question 2: Who won the Hennessy in 1961 at Newbury? Mandarin again.
  • Question 3: What connects the 1958 winner and the 2011 winner? The answer is John Lawrence – later Lord Oaksey, who rode Taxidermist in ’58 and bred and part-owned Carruthers in 2011.
  • The race’s association with Hennessy continued until the 60th running, in 2016, and was British racing’s longest-running commercial sponsorship at the time. The record was previously held by the Whitbread Gold Cup, which was first run seven months before the “Hennessy”, and which was sponsored by Whitbread until 2001.
  • The race has been won by nine horses which have also won the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The most recent of these is Native River, the winner of the latter race in 2018.
  • Many Clouds became the first horse to win both the Hennessy Gold Cup and the Grand National, in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

Enough excitement – time for the tips today.

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