The Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury, now run as the Ladbrokes Trophy, is one of the most prestigious handicap chases of the season.
The Hennessy sponsorship began in 1957 and lasted 60 years, the longest-running commercial sponsorship in horse racing. The race was known as the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup.
The three and a quarter-mile handicap chase, with twenty-one fences to be jumped at Newbury racecourse, retains an important place in the National Hunt racing calendar, often being won by subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup horses.
Famous winners include Mill House, Arkle, Burrough Hill Lad and Denman. We look back at ten of the greatest every Hennessy Gold Cups.
Check out our best Hennessey Cognac Gold Cup winners:
1963 Mill House
Mill House was trained by Fulke Walwyn to win the 1963 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
He was a giant of 18 hands and was known as “the big horse”. He defied 12 stone to win the 1963 Hennessy Gold Cup, conceding 5lbs to the legendary Arkle in the process. The latter made a serious mistake and faded to finish third.
Mill House later added the King George VI Chase at Kempton but Arkle would take his revenge in the 1964 Cheltenham Gold Cup. Walwyn had already won the Hennessy with Mandarin (1957, 1961) and Taxidermist (1958). He would train a record seven winners of the race, his other successes coming with Man Of The West (1968), Charlie Potheen (1972) and Diamond Edge (1981).
Arkle’s supremacy over this chasing rivals was no better illustrated than in the 1965 Hennessy Gold Cup. He put in a flawless round of jumping, conceding a staggering 32lbs and upwards to his seven rivals.
Arkle started at 1-6 favourite and beat Freddie by 15 lengths.
Arkle was owned by the Duchess of Westminster, trained by Tom Dreaper and ridden by Pat Taaffe. He was known simply as “Himself” and is still regarded as the greatest steeplechaser in history. Timeform rated him at 212, 2lbs higher than Flyingbolt and 10lbs higher than modern-day greats Sprinter Sacre and Kauto Star.
1966 Stalbridge Colonist
Arkle’s five lengths defeat of Mill House at Cheltenham established him as the leading steeplechaser in the world. He won the Hennessy in 1964 and 1965, carry 12st 7lbs on both occasions. His dominance included completing a hat-trick of Cheltenham Gold Cups. Arkle was unbeaten in the 65-66 season but faced a formidable task at the weights in the 1966 Hennessy.
He ran a mighty race, failing by just half a length to beat Stalbridge Colonist who was receiving 35lbs. The winner would go on to finish second and third in the next two Cheltenham Gold Cups but was most well known for beating Arkle.
Bregawn started the 1981-82 season as a handicapper but ended up chasing home his stable companion Silver Buck in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
He was aimed at the Hennessy at the start of the 1982-83 season after winning the Rehearsal Chase at Chepstow.
He started favourite despite carrying 11st 10lbs, just 2lbs less than top weight Night Nurse. A bad mistake at the final fence appeared to hand the race to stable companion Captain John but Graham Bradley galvanised Bregawn to get back up to win. He gave 10lbs to Captain John, one of the famous five Michael Dickinson-trained horses in Bregawn’s 1983 Cheltenham Gold Cup victory.
1984 Burrough Hill Lad
Burrough Hill Lad provided Jenny Pitman with a famous Cheltenham Gold Cup victory in the hands of Phil Tuck in 1984. He had a prep race at Wincanton before winning the Hennessy under 12 stone, this time with John Francome aboard.
He made a mistake during the race but recovered to beat Canny Danny by four lengths. Injury prevented Burrough Hill Lad from adding to his single Gold Cup victory but he was still rated one of the top ten steeplechasers of all time.
1994 One Man
The 1994 Hennessy heralded the arrival of another Champion chaser in One Man, trained by Gordon Richards.
The grey had emerged as a leading novice the previous season when winning the Reynoldstown Chase. He disappointed in the Sun Alliance Chase but returned with a victory at Ayr before a decisive Hennessy win off a light weight.
One Man went on to win the King George VI Chase in 1995 and 1996 and the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 1998.
1997 Suny Bay
Another popular grey to win the Hennessy Gold Cup was Suny Bay in 1997. He was trained by Charlie Brooks and ridden by Graham Bradley and started a well-backed 9-4 favourite. He made light of 11st 8lbs to draw clear of Barton Bank and win by 13 lengths.
Denman was a giant of a horse trained by Paul Nicholls and nicknamed “The Tank”. His career coincided with that of stable companion Kauto Star.
His Sun Alliance victory made him second favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup but he went to Newbury without the benefit of a previous race. He routed the field, beating Dream Alliance by 12 lengths. He defeated Kauto Star in the 2008 Gold Cup, starting a famous rivalry between the two great chasers.
Denman had lost his Gold Cup crown to Kauto Star in 2009 and fell on his final appearance of the season at Aintree. He returned to Newbury for the Hennessy, once again without a prep run and set to shoulder 11st 12lbs. Ruby Walsh took over the reins from Sam Thomas and the combination gave 22lbs and a beating to What A Friend. Denman was beaten by Imperial Commander in the 2010 Gold Cup and by Long Run in 2011.
2014 Many Clouds
The 2014 Hennessy was won by Many Clouds, a rising star who had won the Reynoldstown and the Mildmay as a novice. Trained by OIiver Sherwood and owned by Trevor Hemmings, he was ridden by Leighton Aspell.
Many Clouds stayed on strongly to beat 50-1 outsider Houblon Des Obeaux. He later won the Cotswold Chase and won the 2015 Aintree Grand National. He won a second Cotswold Chase in 2017 but tragically died of a heart attack shortly after crossing the line.