Saturday 28th November 2020
Welcome to this Saturday’s Preview where it’s Ladbrokes Trophy Day (formerly known as the Hennessey) at Newbury.
I’ll be going through all the big races of the day though that will be featured on ITV including the Fighting Fifth up at Newcastle.
The first race I’ve turned my attention to is the 1:50 at Newbury which is a Handicap Hurdle over a distance just shy of two miles and five furlongs. A very competitive affair of which the standard is set by the Tom Lacey trained Tea Clipper who’s the form horse of the race, also coming into the race in a rich vein of form is On The Wild Side for Dr Richard Newland. Both are worthy of serious consideration, however, I’ve taken them on with the Nicky Henderson trained CHAMPAGNE PLATINUM at 15/2 who’s the mount of Nico de Boinville. Sporting the JP silks he was highly tried last season over fences and was disappointing on the whole, he arrives back over hurdles here though on what could be a very workable mark and despite having obvious risks he could be worth chancing at the prices.
It’s off to Newcastle next for the 2:05 which is the Grade 1 Fighting Fifth hurdle over two miles. For me here it’s really difficult to oppose the reigning Champion Hurdle winner EPATANTE at 5/6 for the same connections of Nicky Henderson and JP McManus. Set to be ridden by Aidan Coleman on this occasion she won at Cheltenham in very impressive style by the best part of three lengths and if anywhere near that sort of form, with the mares allowance, she’ll be very tough to beat here. Her obvious dangers are the in-form Sceau Royal and Silver Streak who are both seasoned campaigners at this level. Ribble Valley shouldn’t be completely ruled out either.
We head back to Newbury now for the 2:25 which is an Intermediate Listed Hurdle over two miles and a half of a furlong. There’s several in here with considerable potential with the likes of Thyme White and Botox Has sticking out, the former winning impressively at Cheltenham last time. I think this race could be all about MARIE’S ROCK though at 7/4, once again for the Seven Barrows team, she looked very smart when winning at Taunton nearly 12 months ago when bolting up in a Listed contest and she remains full of potential and could well be anything. If tuned up to go she could put in a very bold showing here.
It’s the big one next at Newbury at 3:00 which is of course the Ladbrokes Trophy over a distance of just shy of three miles and two furlongs. A race that has thrown up some fantastic spectacles over the years has once has once again thrown up an immensely competitive renewal. I’ve had two darts in the race, the first coming in the form of CLOTH CAP at 8/1 for Jonjo O’Neil and Tom Scudamore. He put in somewhat of a mixed bag last term form wise, but was third in the 2019 Scottish Grand National and ran a solid race on seasonal reappearance in third behind Frodon at Cheltenham last month. If progressing from that effort, I think he holds every chance here and could prove a big player off bottom weight in the first time headgear. My other fancy in the race is Cheltenham Festival winner THE CONDITIONAL at 10/1 for the Powell and Bridgwater team. He progressed in great style last term which included finishing second in this race and culminated with that win at The Festival. He’s up eight pounds in the weights for that success, however, I think he still has a lot more to offer and could well hold further progression.
The penultimate race I’ll be taking a look at comes from Newcastle and is the 3:15 which is a Listed Handicap Chase over just shy of three miles. Whatmore sets a very solid standard here and if turning up in the same form as his second placed effort at Ascot the last day he’ll be tough to beat. I’m siding with a Henderson horse once more though here and that’s PYM at 10/3 who’s to be ridden by Daryl Jacob. He’s got a fair bit of weight to concede here, however, I think he could well be a class above this level. Possibly not the most straight forward horse but clearly very talented as he proved the last day when beating the smart If The Cap Fits and most notably when getting the better of Imperial Aura last December at Cheltenham. If on a going day I think he’s a massive player here. Also worthy of consideration here is The Butcher Said for Olly Murphy who was going well enough at Cheltenham last time behind The Big Breakaway before a blunder.
Concluding the preview is the 3:35 at Newbury which is a Class 2 Handicap Chase over two miles and half of a furlongs. The in-form Ibleo looks the one they all have to beat here for Venetia Williams in the Aso colours, I’ve taken him on though with Phillip Hobbs’ ZANZA at 4/1 who’s the mount of Richard Johnson. He was last seen finishing second in a decent novices’ chase at Warwick behind the smart Allmankind. On that occasion he wasn’t giving a hard time of it and picked off a few decent rivals close home and you’d have to say that was an eye catching performance from him. If progressing from that effort there’s nothing saying he won’t get closer at the business end of things here. Another notable contender here is Moonlighter for Nick Williams, he ran a mighty race in the Haldon Gold Cup behind the smart Greaneteen last time and is very much feared.