Decision in the balance


Racing Newscoome Hill's participation in the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup remained in the balance yesterday. Last year's winner pleased Walter Dennis in a workout yesterday morning.

But the Bude permit-holder is still worried that his stable-star will not recover from his efforts when third at Cheltenham last weekend in time for the Hennessy a week on Saturday.

"Coome Hill did a little bit of work this morning and he's fine," Dennis said. "But we won't make up our minds on the Hennessy until the beginning of next week.

"We are waiting to see how he comes out of his race at Cheltenham. It was a hard trip as it is five hours to Cheltenham and five hours back, and he lost a shoe in the race too.

"Graham Bradley is booked to ride but he won't be left in if we don't think he is capable of running a good race."

Coome Hill is quoted at 8 to 1 by Ladbrokes to become the first horse to win successive runnings of the Newbury showpiece since Arkle in 1964 and 1965.

Avro Anson could make a surprise reappearance in the big race. Maurice Camacho had initially been reluctant to run his stable star, sixth in last season's Martell Grand National, first time out in the £70,000-added contest. But the Malton trainer said yesterday: "It is quite possible he will run in the Hennessy if the ground isn't soft.

"We will probably make a decision over the weekend but it is 'even-stevens' at the moment. We decided against going for this Saturday's Becher Chase as we thought that would be too tough and it gives us an extra week to get him ready."

Ladbrokes quote Avro Anson at 20 to 1 for the Hennessy, in which he is set to carry 10st 8lb.

Bosra Sham - described by Henry Cecil as the best horse he has ever trained - is to be covered by Rainbow Quest, it was announced yesterday. The filly, retired to stud two months ago, will stay in Newmarket for her first mating because connections do not want to risk any further problems with her delicate feet.

The following horses are visored for the first time today: Sedgefield, 3.10 Sky Runner. The following are blinkered for the first time: Sedgefield, 2.10 Old Ale, Dawn Mission. 3.10 Galen. Warwick, 3.30 Oakmont. Wincanton, 1.50 Kongies Melody.

William Haggas yesterday decided not to appeal against a "non-triers" penalty. He had been considering taking action after being fined £1,600 over the running of Shocker at Southwell on Monday. But a stable spokesman revealed: "Mr Haggas is not appealing".