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Hennessey Gold Cup favourite Invictus will face a ‘huge challenge’ to win at Newbury on Saturday, according to his trainer Alan King, as he makes his return to Grade 3 National Hunt chase.
The seven-year-old son of Flemensfirth has not run a competitive race since sealing victory ahead of Bobs Worth and Silviniaco Conti in the Reynoldstown at Ascot in February last year.
And, while King believes Invictus is in good enough shape to land the spoils and secure what would be a maiden Gold Cup crown, he accepts that such a long time off the track and his inexperience of big fields throws up one or two variables and could work against him.
Rocky Creek is expected to lay down the challenge from the off and push the Bay Gelding all the way at the front of the field and King hopes that Invictus has enough in the tank to come out on top.
He said: “He seems to have retained all of his ability, and I think the ground will be absolutely fine, as I don’t think he wants extremes.
“He’s also quite possibly well handicapped.
“They are the positives, but he’s been off an awfully long time and he has no experience at all in big fields of handicappers, as his novice chases were five and six runners.
“I’m very pleased with him, but I’m under no illusions about the task he faces. I’ll say it again. It’s a huge challenge.”