Invictus continues Hennessy Gold Cup preparations
Alan King will continue the Hennessy Gold Cup preparations of Invictus with a racecourse gallop at Newbury.
Last Updated: 18/11/13 2:03pm
The 7/1 favourite fits the bill in terms of profile, as a lightly-raced and smart novice who collected on three of his four starts over fences and beat no lesser horse than Gold Cup winner Bobs Worth in the Reynoldstown at Ascot, with Silviniaco Conti back in fourth.
That race, in February of last year, was the last time Invictus competed in public as he suffered a tendon injury when being prepared for the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
"He's an absurd price at the moment," said King after watching the seven-year-old lead Wild Blue Yonder and The Pirate's Queen in a routine canter up his Barbury Castle gallop.
"Whatever he does at Newbury, he is going to improve, but the handicapper has dropped him down to 145 and we'll do as much as we can with him.
"I wanted to get a run into him first, but there hasn't been time. If he was to have a run, it would have needed to be a month before.
"He's done all his work at home, he's been away once and he'll go away again to Newbury this week."
Invictus also struck over fences at Plumpton and Hereford and was third to Champion Court in the Dipper at Cheltenham, but it was his Ascot effort that has looked most notable.
"Everyone keeps saying the other two didn't perform, but we'll find that out on the day," said King.
"He was progressive all season. It was bad enough (the injury), but it was just time off.
"He's been back in all summer and has been in training for some time. He's not a stuffy horse, but with all that time off they can get fat inside.
"He's a far more relaxed horse now, and we'll just see how he gets on, get the first race out of the way. There will be a lot of improvement in him."
King believes the Nicky Henderson-trained Hadrian's Approach, who belongs to Invictus' owner Richard Kelvin Hughes, is also heading to the Hennessy a week on Saturday, but stablemates Walkon and Godsmejudge are not likely to take up their entries.