Fruity O’Rooney in top form for huge Hennessy test

Fruity O'Rooney and Jamie Moore jump upsides Pentiffic in the JLT Specialty Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival

Fruity O'Rooney and Jamie Moore jump upsides Pentiffic in the JLT Specialty Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival

Paul Nicholls on a recent visit to Fontwell Park / Picture by Malcolm Wells

Nicholls seeks success on Fontwell’s hunter-chase card

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Fruity O’Rooney is being primed for ‘one of the toughest’ tests of his career.

The West Sussex chaser will go to post in the £150,000 Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury tomorrow (3.10pm).

One of the most famous handicaps in the jumps calendar, the three-mile-two-furlong battle was won by the legendary Denman in 2007 and 2009.

Third in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster in January, Fruity O’Rooney went on to finish second to Alfie Sherrin in the JLT Speciality Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival off a mark of 140. Now rated 145, the son of Kahyasi is expected to deliver another big performance as he prepares to carry a 10st 5lb burden.

Jockey Jamie Moore said: ‘This will be one of the toughest handicaps Fruity can run in but I see no reason why he can’t take his chance, especially as he is in the form of his life at home.

‘The fences at Newbury take some jumping but no more so than Doncaster, and even if we don’t win, the prize money for getting a place is still brilliant.’

After finishing 20th in a handicap hurdle on his seasonal bow at Cheltenham in October, the nine-year-old will tomorrow return to the larger obstacles and a classier standard of opposition.

Nicky Henderson’s Bobs Worth currently heads the 19 runners at 4/1, Alan King’s Hold On Julio is 15/2, Tidal Bay is 8/1 for the Paul Nicholls stable, while Fruity O’Rooney is a generous 25/1.

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