Friday, November 27, 2020

The Ladbrokes Trophy Chase 2020

The good news: racegoers will be allowed back at certain tracks from Wednesday next week.  

The bad news: there will be tiers before Christmas (as my dear old Ma always used to tell us around this time of year). 

The Ladbrokes Trophy Chase - the Hennessy Gold Cup - is the highlight on the second day of Newbury's Winter Carnival meeting. Eighteen have been declared with the going currently described as good, good to soft in places.

At the time of writing Vinndication and Kildisart share favouritism,

Vinndication finished second behind Cyrname in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby four weeks ago (Aye Right third); Kim Bailey's charge did well to finish just two lengths adrift of the winner as his jumping was pretty sketchy - and it looked positively hairy during a schooling session at the racecourse earlier this week. Some feel the gelding is better going right-handed but he has previously run and jumped well at Cheltenham (fourth behind The Conditional and Kildisart in the Ultima at Cheltenham in March, Mister Malarky pulled up); connections fit cheekpieces for the first time in the hope they'll help the cause.

Kildisart was beaten a neck by The Conditional in the Ultima and meets that rival three pounds better off; with a nice pipe-opener over hurdles under his belt (Copperhead pulled up), Ben Pauling's charge has been well supported in the market while The Conditional appears to be drifting on this seasonal debut. The horse finished a fine second behind De Rasher Counter in this race last year (Beware The Bear fourth, Mister Malarky sixth, Regal Encore pulled up) but now races off a ten pounds higher mark. 

After that effort The Conditional didn't appear to stay the extended trip of the Classic Chase at Warwick in January but I've seen a comment suggesting there were possible excuses that day and I'm just wondering whether connections are considering a repeat attempt this year. 

To my mind Black Op has never really convinced over the larger obstacles but Secret Investor was impressive beating Potterman seven lengths on good ground at Chepstow last time; his tendency to jump markedly right that day remains the worry.

Course and distance winner Copperhead looks the pick of the two Tizzard runners with connections clearly expecting a big run. He went to the Cheltenham Festival in top form but, carrying my money, he went out like a light in the RSA and his most recent effort at Wetherby didn't offer much encouragement either. His chance is respected but I can't support him on this occasion.

Stablemate Mister Malarky, sixth last year, starts from a mark one pound lower tomorrow; the fitting of first-time blinkers and the good ground could help the cause. He beat Black Corton two lengths in the Betway Chase at Kempton in February with Kildisart six lengths adrift in fifth. That form reads well but this one is a moody character who wouldn't be guaranteed to put his best foot forward.

Kim Bailey's second string Two For Gold was beaten some 17 lengths by Copperhead in the Reynoldstown Novices' Chase at Ascot and on the balance of his form looks short enough in the market.

Ultra consistent Potterman has made hay over the summer and was pipped a short head by El Presente in the Badger Beers at Wincanton three weeks ago; Alan King's charge has been placed in nine of his 11 starts to date. He goes off the same mark tomorrow but is due to go up five pounds.

The two on the short list are Cloth Cap and Aye Right. 

The former carries the minimum ten stones but is guaranteed to stay having finished third behind Takingrisks in the 2019 Scottish National. 

The latter meets Vinndication seven pounds better off for five lengths but I'm concerned about how well he'll see out this extended three mile two furlong trip. Unfortunately handler Harriet Graham misses the race after being run over by her own lorry... 

In the hope the beast gets on better with the lorry on the long journey down, Aye Right is the each-way selection. At the time of writing the horse is 10/1 with Betfair who pay six places.


'Nicky Henderson has a particular way with fillies and mares and I'd think long and hard before you decide to lay one,' was a piece of unsolicited advice proffered to me by a tweed-clad gent in a racecourse bar a few years ago. 

Now, that's an opening gambit, and just for a minute I wondered whether I'd accidentally walked onto the set of a Carry On film, or, even worse, into a scene from a Jilly Cooper bonkbuster. 

I played it straight and told the gent concerned Polly Peachum was my favourite mare in training, named as she was after a character from The Beggar's Opera. That answer seemed to have the desired effect and the old boy sloped off to annoy someone else...

Mr Henderson saddles two high profile mares tomorrow - Epatante in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle (2.05) and Marie's Rock in the Gerry Feilden at Newbury (2.25). 

Apparently Epatante translates as 'Amazing' and while it's no surprise to see the champion hurdler priced up an odds-on chance, race-fit rivals Sceau Royal and Silver Streak look sure to provide stiff opposition. With Not So Sleepy and Cornerstone Lad in the field, a decent pace seems assured.

Epatante won last year's renewal of the Gerry Feilden off a mark of 137 so it's easy to see why layers have priced up Marie's Rock favourite with her current rating of 141. That said, her last run was 334 days ago and a number in the field are rated in the 140s including Botox Has (146); Sebastopol (142); Milkwood (141); Thyme White (141); and stablemate Floressa (141). 

Milkwood was my each-way play in the Greatwood before the rain arrived. The ground will suit here but the thing is, no matter how hard I try, I just can't forget the words of that gent in the tweed suit...


Finally, I intend to take an each-way interest in Mick Maestro in the 1.43 at Doncaster. 

Ashington looked unlucky when badly hampered by a faller in Tegerek's race at Cheltenham and Kevin Brogan claims seven. 

I saw Mick Maestro finish second behind New Agenda at Ludlow just over two years ago; the horse was with Alan King at the time and effectively Richard Johnson gained first run on the winner. 

Off the track for 644 days, Mick ran a stormer at odds of 66/1 on his first run for Nick Kent, finishing just under seven lengths behind Kaizer (fifth in a competitive handicap hurdle at Haydock last weekend). A lot of his racing has been on right-handed tracks and the 'bounce' factor is a concern but the better ground here is a big positive; at the time of writing bet365 offer 14/1.


Anonymous said...

15:00 Newbury : Ladbrokes Trophy Chase

The going this morning is Good, Good to Soft (in places) following 2mm of rain overnight.

183,Secret Investor(Gb),23.7
183,Aye Right(Ire),9
176,Mister Malarky(Gb),6.4
179,La Bague Au Roi(Fr),5.9
176,Regal Encore(Ire),5.2
177,Beware The Bear(Ire),4.8
179,Black Op(Ire),2.2
177,Two For Gold(Ire),2.1
174,Cloth Cap(Ire),0.6
172,Danny Whizzbang(Ire),0.5
172,The Conditional(Ire),0.2
175,The Hollow Ginge(Ire),0.2

A smashing write-up and I’d be delighted to see Aye Right [AR] (joint top system rating) win for Harriet, Callum and the North!

That said it is not where my money is going.

I looked long, hard at Ardlethen at tempting odds of 33/1+ but his one try in a handicap off 140 was disappointing and off 2lbs lower today he may find this too much.

After timing, but my bet is for Secret Investor [SI]. Whilst both SI & AR share a top rating of 183 from the system’s perspective SI gets more ticks in more boxes and ends up with an estimated win chance of 23.7% against 9% for AR. SI’ tendency to jump right is a concern but I expect him to be up with the pace so it might impact others more than him! I took 10/1 [6 places 1/5 odds] last night, a good chance SI can make the frame and with a fair wind could just take 1st place.

SI and AR are also the top two on Timeform with 176 and 175 respectively. It is TF’s free race today:

Good luck!


Anonymous said...

14:25 The Gerry Feilden

166,Botox Has(Fr),22.6
169,Millers Bank(Gb),12.6
169,Marie's Rock(Ire),11.9
166,Pisgah Pike(Ire),10.2
162,Thyme White(Fr),7.9
162,The Pink'n(Gb),3.9

I’d not be looking to lay Nicky’s mare but I’m happy to take her on!

Chasing loses here; the system was keen on Millers Bank [MB] in the Welsh Champion hurdle where he ran no sort of race and finished well behind Milkwood. I should perhaps take that hint but he may have needed the race, he has had a wind op since and wears a 1st time tongue tie today. MB is joint top system rated in this following two fine runs in novice hurdles in late 2019 that have both worked out very well. Whilst every runner looks to have some sort of chance, not least the favourite, MB will likely be a huge price on the win exchange and decent price in the place market so that’s where I’ll be dabbling.

Marracudja tops the system output in the last at Newbury and whilst tempted again in this instance I decided not to chase last week’s loss…that’ll probably back fire!

Good luck.


GeeDee said...

Thanks for providing your ratings, TW, and for the link to Timeform's.

Will go and revisit Millers Bank on the back of your comments; I haven't done much work on the race but thought he looked overpriced earlier in the week.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Finally, I intend to take an each-way interest in Mick Maestro in the 1.43 at Doncaster.

Well done...


Anonymous said...

The two on the short list are Cloth Cap and Aye Right.

Trust you did the forecast!

Cracking day for your blog...


Sandracer said...

Close, no cigar, although Cloth Cap danced round and away. Beaten by the horse your write up looked like you were going to go for the way I read it. If I were a forecast punter...

GeeDee said...

TW / Sandracer,

CSF: £108.72
Exacta: £150.00

If only... ;)

GeeDee said...

You can do nothing more than stand back and take your hat off to a quite exceptional performance from Cloth Cap (9/1) in the Ladbrokes Trophy.

Racing from the front carrying the minimum ten stone, Trevor Hemmings' gelding was never headed, producing some prodigious leaps over the obstacles along the way; with ground conditions in his favour, he turned what looked a competitive renewal into a procession and never looked in any danger.

Cloth Cap came home ten lengths ahead of selection Aye Right (12/1) who ran a fine race but simply met one too good on the day with The Conditional (14/1) one and a half lengths further adrift in third. The Hollow Ginge (50/1) finished fourth with Beware The Bear (33/1) fifth and Ardlethen (16/1) sixth.

It remains to be seen what view the handicapper will take of the winner's performance going forward.

Epatante looked particularly slick at her hurdles in the Fighting Fifth and is now generally a 7/4 shot for the Champion Hurdle next March; Nicky Henderson indicated the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton is next on the agenda.

Stablemate Marie's Rock ran with the choke out at Newbury; she made two significant hurdling errors before being hampered two from home. The race went to Floressa, the second string from the Henderson stable (with those words of the tweed-clad gent ringing gently in my ears...)

Finally, I was pleased to see Mick Maestro (11/1) come home in front. Nick Kent's charge survived a couple of blunders at the final two flights but still had enough in reserve to repel the challenge of Kannapolis (7/1) by threequarters of a length.