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Ladbroke Trophy Preview

Morning all,

For punters of a certain age. The Ladbroke Trophy will always be known as the ‘Hennessey Gold Cup’. Whatever you call it. The race remains one of those most iconic handicap chases of the winter season. It’s the highlight of Newbury’s two-day Winter Carnival which gets underway on Friday.

They have been watering at Newbury Clerk of the Course Keith Ottesen is quoted in the Racing Post as saying: “The ground is naturally properly good to soft at the moment and I don't see it drying out, so there are no ground concerns in terms of it being quick”

Taking that comment at face value. Then it should be nice jumping ground, especially so if the rain does arrive on Saturday. No excuses ground unless you want the mud that is.  

Fingers crossed the ground is deemed suitable for the horses still entered at the five-day stage. If it is then we’re set for some great action.


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Inside today’s column I look at some of the key trends and contenders for the Ladbrokes Trophy. Plus, there’s a Wednesday selection at the bottom of the piece.

Something for the weekend – Part 1

Ladbroke Trophy – Newbury

The Hennessey Gold Cup was won by the mighty Arkle in 1964 and 1965. In recent years the race has been won by three Gold Cup winners (Denman (2007 & 2009), Bobs Worth (2012), Native River (2016) and Grand National winner Many Clouds (2014). Last year’s renewal was won by Cloth Cap and the 9-year-old will bid for back-to-back wins in the race.

Trends:

Interestingly seven of the last ten renewals of the race have been run on ground described good or good to soft. In the past 10 years 185 horse have competed for the winners first prize.

Most of the interesting trends are negative ones.

Looking at the winning odds (SP) over the last ten renewals. Those runners returned 14/1 & bigger are 1 winner from 109 runners 17 placed.

Horse’s Age: 9-year-old & Older – 1 winner from 55 runners 12 placed (Sizing Tennessee was a 10-year-old when winning in 2018).

Last Time Out Placing: 4th or worse – 1 winner from 85 runners 12 placed (De Rasher Counter had finished 6th over hurdles prior to winning in 2019).

Odds SP Last Race – 8/1 & bigger – 1 winner from 90 runners 17 placed.

The most notable profitable trend is for horse’s who had one seasonal run prior to the race. Such qualifiers produced – 8 winners from 97 runners +8.25 23 placed.

Leading Trainers (with entries)

Colin Tizzard – 2 winners from 14 runners +3.25 6 placed (If you had backed all his runners each way the profit was +13.50).

Nicky Henderson – 2 winners from 17 runners +9 5 placed.

Contenders:

Looking at some of the leading contenders. The Irish have two of the leading fancies in Ontheropes and Eklat De Rire.

Ontheropes – Willie Mullins

Heads the ante post betting at the time of writing. The 7-year-old returned from a 11-month absence to win the Munster National at Limerick last month. Ticks the big field experience box and was strong at the finish over 3m last time so could stay further.

Eklat De Rire – Henry De Bromhead

Did well over fences last season winning three of his four starts. The only blemish to a good season was when unseating his rider in the Grade 1 Brown Advisory Novices' Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Won a small field listed race at Wexford last time. Likely a mark of 154 is a winnable one but all his best form has so far come on heavy ground.

The home team:

Enrilo – Paul Nicholls

With Next Destination not declared Nicholls relies on Enrilio. The 7-year-old put in a personal best when first past the post in Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown on his final start, demoted to third having hung badly left in the closing stages. He’s been raised 4lb for that performance but could progress further and the ground was good at Sandown.  

Fiddlerontheroof – Colin Tizzard

Runner up four times in Graded novice chases last season, including when a 6 ½ lengths second of 6 to Monkfish in Brown Advisory Novices' Chase at Cheltenham. Made a winning return to action in the Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase at Carlisle last month. A mark of 150 looks workable and although he needs to improve on his Carlisle performance, that’s possible back up in distance.

Kitty’s Light – Christian Williams

Was the horse that got impeded by Enrilo in the Bet365 Gold Cup and was an unlucky loser. The 5-year-old has returned to action in good form finishing a head 2nd of 13 at Chepstow and the runner-up in the Grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase. The likely good ground is a big plus for his chance but he’s 6lb worse off with Enrilo now.

Cloth Cap – Jonjo O’Neill

An excellent winner of this race last year. He jumped his rivals into the ground 12 months ago on good ground. Improved further to win a Kelso Listed chase before pulling up when well fancied for the Grand National. Shaped like the run was needed when a 15 ½ lengths fourth of 11 at Cheltenham last month. The cheekpieces he wore last season when winning this were left off on his seasonal reappearance and you can expect them to be reapplied on Saturday.

Demachine – Kerry Lee

Was expected to prove to be a much better chaser than hurdler and so it has proved. The 7-year-old won his first two starts over fences in novice handicap chases at Uttoxeter and Ascot (both good to soft). Ended last season with 4 lengths 2nd of 6 to Remastered in the Grade 2 Reynoldstown Novices' Chase at Ascot. As with several, good ground and 3m 2f would be slight unknowns. But he does look on a competitive mark and if he stays is a lively outsider.

Potterman – Alan King  

Second past the post in the Bet365 Gold Cup but was awarded the race in the stewards’ room. He gets 2lb from Enrilo here which should mean there isn’t much between the pair again. However, I think the Nicholls has more scope for improvement off his present mark. Has returned to action good form though, finishing a 2 ¼ lengths second of 13 to Rocco in Badger Beers Silver Trophy Handicap Chase at Wincanton last time. Goes well on good or quicker ground although he’s vulnerable to better handicapped horses

Remastered – David Pipe

No issues with 3m 2f for the 8-year-old and he ran a perfectly good trial for this when a 1 ¾ 3rd of 11 over hurdles at Aintree at the beginning of the month. However, his best form over fences last season came on soft/heavy ground. If it was soft ground I would have him high on the shortlist but I’m doubtful if he will even run.

Verdict:

Like the recent Paddy Power Handicap Chase. This year’s Ladbroke Trophy looks a deep and competitive race. I fancy both Irish runners Ontheropes and Eklat De Rire are better than their present official ratings. However, neither have run on the type of going expected on Saturday. Demachine would be a couple point shorter in the betting if he was with a big yard and is another who looks on a decent mark. If the ground turns out to be like it was last year, you couldn’t rule out Cloth Cap although he’s vulnerable to better treated rivals. Given the Tizzard’s record in the race you must keep Fiddlerontheroof onside.

Wednesday racing

Today’s feature race is the Listed Hyde Stakes at Kempton (7:15). The rest of Wednesday’s action comes from Hereford, Wetherby, and Dundalk.

Small fields are once again the order of the day with Hereford seeing 47 runners declared for a seven-race card and Wetherby sees. 53 runners over its six-race card. If you want big fields you must look to the all-weather with Kempton having 93 runners declared for a bumper eight-race card and Dundalk 105 runners.

Wednesday selection:

Tuesday’s selection Tamilla was beaten less than a length into 3rd at Wolverhampton yesterday. As I expected she got into the money and if you backed her each way then her 8/1 SP ensured you made a small profit on the race.

Onto today’s selection which comes from Kempton.

Kempton

7:45 – Pretty Sweet a consistent filly who has yet to finish outside the first three on her six career starts. Not well placed her last time and had to make her effort out wide when a strong finishing 3rd of 10 here last time. Should be suited by today’s extra furlong and can add to her sole career win.

On Course Profits free Horse Racing magazine

Pretty Sweet – 3/1 @ Bet365 & Sky Bet

Good luck with your Wednesday bets.

John

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