Friday, November 30, 2018

Ladbrokes Trophy Chase 2018

Whisper it quietly but this year's Ladbrokes Trophy (Newbury 3.00) looks a little, dare I say it,  lacklustre with only 13 set to face the starter; connections of Kemboy were forced to stay at home after Thursday's scheduled sailing across the Irish Sea was cancelled.

At the head of the market the layers look to have their pricing roughly right about Thomas Patrick, Elegant Escape and Ms Parfois.

Elegant Escape beat Thomas Patrick at Sandown three weeks ago and collects a four pounds penalty for his trouble; both sets of connections will expect improvement - on the revised terms the latter can certainly reverse the form but I note Elegant Escape, third in the RSA last March, had a wind operation during the summer.

Ms Parfois, placed in six of her seven chase starts to date, has her first run since wind surgery in August. Handler Anthony Honeyball sent out Regal Encore to finish third in this race last year at the rewarding odds of 66/1; he comments in this week's Straight from the Stable tour in the Weekender:

"...I'm happy we've done plenty of work with her, including a racecourse gallop at Newbury last week with Regal Encore, and she's ready to run a big race. The only issue is the ground as she wants it soft or heavy, so we're keen to see plenty of rain this week. Given the right conditions it will be a real slog and she'll be jumping well and keeping going when others have stopped."

Traditionally this has proved a strong trends race. No winner has been rated lower than 146 in the past decade which eliminates The Young Master, Flying Angel, Allyson Monterg and West Approach.

The last horse older than nine to come home in front was Diamond Edge in 1981 so on those grounds I'm going to discount Sizing Tennessee as well which leaves eight runners from which to find some value.

The Alan King trained Dingo Dollar, tipped up by Paul Kealy, seems popular but, reading between the lines, I'm not convinced King really believes his charge has the class to come home in front.

Black Corton appears to have a stiff task off top weight while I always think Go Conquer is a better horse at Ascot.

The two I'm looking at are American and Beware The Bear.

American is a talented but fragile individual with low mileage on the clock. He was sent off 5/1 second favourite for this last year but was pulled up after jumping poorly throughout; afterwards the vet reported the gelding had lost his left fore shoe and suffered an overreach on his left fore.

56 days later Harry Fry's charge split Definitly Red and Bristol De Mai in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham - that form that reads very well.

He clearly comes with risks attached - his nine wins to date have all come in fields with less than ten runners, there's the suspicion the ground won't be soft enough and last year's effort remains a big worry but he tries off a mark three pounds lower this year and his amateur rider can claim another five. Speaking to the Racing Post Fry says:

"He's been easier to train this time around and we deliberately didn't let him down completely over the summer."

Beware The Bear won the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle on this day last year and at 16/1 in places he looks a big price for a Nicky Henderson trained runner. His overall profile doesn't totally convince and a quick look through the form suggests his jumping can cause problems on occasions.

He's another who underwent wind surgery during the summer and connections have decided to come here as they report their charge in rude health. Jerry McGrath's mount will also sport cheekpieces for the first time.

The current going on the chase course is reported good to soft, soft in places and the BBC forecast an 80% chance of further rain during the morning.

At the time of writing Unibet stand out offering 14/1 American and are paying one fifth the odds four places.

American is the each-way selection.


Anonymous said...

The latest going update from the Clerk of the Course is "We are now Soft on the Hurdles Course, and Soft (Good to Soft in places) on the Chase Course...the third last fence (open ditch) has been repaired and will be in use today".

The field is down to 12 runners following the withdrawal of Go Conquer [Going].

Timeform have free ratings on their website for this race:


My system ratings are:


Flying Angel could be well handicapped but nagging doubts about the trip meant he was passed over. My value short-list was therefore also American and Beware The Bear [BTB] but I opted for BTB.

Whilst BTB clearly has a bit of attitude his record, the two Grand Nationals no-shows aside, under Jeremiah McGrath is 4 from 6. BTB’ record after a 100+ day absence reads 2311 which suggests that making his seasonal debut should not be a negative an may be a positive. BTB needs to keep in touch on the first circuit but with a smaller than usual field and a host of horses that want to race prominently perhaps this will finally be the year for a hold-up horse. 16/1 4 places, 1/5 odds.

Good luck!


GeeDee said...

Tempted by a reverse forecast, TW?

GeeDee said...

I have this strange sense of deja vu.

My selection in this race last year, Label Des Obeaux, was beaten after the first fence and you'd be pressing a point to say Amercian (15/2) fared any better. This year's selection ran wretchedly, starting some ten lengths behind the rest of the field, stubbornly staying there for one circuit, and then being pulled up when probably at least twenty lengths behind the rest of the field.

Thomas Patrick (3/1f) set a ferocious pace from the off and, generally, those who tried to keep close tabs on the leader paid the price, as indeed did the leader coming into the home straight. Sizing Tennessee (12/1) became the first ten-year-old to take the spoils since Diamond Edge in 1981 with Elegant Escape (4/1) faring best of the pacemakers in second and Dingo Dollar (10/1) third.

Last year TW's pick for this race, Braqueur D'Or, stayed on to claim fourth and this year his selection Beware The Bear (14/1) stayed on to claim fourth.

As I said, I have this strange sense of deja vu...