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advising selections on which to wager, since March 2010.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Saturday's Ladbrokes Trophy (handicap) Chase

This Saturday we have the top-class Ladbrokes Trophy (handicap) Chase at Newbury, and at first glance it looks to be a competitive affair with 4 of the 23 entries vying for favouritism at about 6/1 - being Elegant Escape, Thomas Patreick, Kemboy and Ms Parfois. 
When there is competition like this, there is usually value to be found, and I'm on the look-out for it. Also, in a race which a history like the Ladbrokes Trophy (which used to be the Hennessey Gold Cup and has been run at Newbury since 1957) there are plenty of statistical pointers to help you find the eventual winner.
For instance, since 1999 (that's 19 years) only one horse has won the race aged 9yr s or older and that was the mighty Denman when he won the race for the 2nd time in 2009.  To put that performance in perspective, Denman was not only the only horse other than the great Arkle to win the race twice but, just like Arkle, he was a Cheltenham Gold Cup winner.
Ask yourself, of the 23 entries aged 9yo or older, how many have the potential to win a Cheltenham Gold Cup?  How about last year's  Ladbrokes winner Total Recall - no, he fell 4-out in the Gold Cup last March when not looking like being able to trouble the eventual 1st-2.
I think we can safely omit those aged 9yo or older from our form assessment, and that reduces the field of 23 down to 14. 
In my opinion, it is important for a horse to have had a preparatory race prior to contesting this, and (as such) I'm prepared to overlook those that have yet to run since 1st May: that is Al Boum Photo (off 221 days); American (off 260 days); Invitation Only (off 221 days); Monbeg Notorius (off 221 days); Beware The Bear (off 224 days); Ms Parfois (off 232 days); and Allysson Monterg (off 220 days). That reduces the likely winning group to just 7 runners.
They are: Kemboy, Black Corton, Elegant Escape, Dingo Dollar, Thomas Patrick, Flying Angel and West Approach.    
Kemboy is a classy chaser, and although he's not a novice (he won a chase in January at odds of 2/5) he's only had 7 chase races, and 5 of those races were over a trip of 2m5f or under. He fell at the 1st fence in the Irish Grand National in April, and then won a "facile" race over 3-mile at Limerick beating just 4 rivals, the 2nd-placed horse being the OR144 rated Tombstone who has never won a race beyond 2m4f.  For me, there is absolutely no proof that Kemboy can stay the 3m2f trip yet alone win. Not so Black Corton who showed he's a capable of staying this sort of trip but whether he can off OR157 when he is prone to making jumping errors (and he will not have the luxury of being able to recover on Saturday with so many other runners) is debatable.
Elegant Escape beat Black Corton fair'n'square as a novice chase twice last season and he's weighted to maintain that advantage. He won his seasonal debut over 3-mile at Sandown beating Thomas Patrick but unfortunately has a 4lb penalty for that win which means Thomas Patrick now holds the advantage in the handicap. In my opinion, THOMAS PATRICK is ahead of the handicap and he's also likely to really enjoy the rain-softened ground on Saturday, and he has no stamina worries. It is also likely that he will have Richard Johnson riding.
Dingo Dollar had a spin over hurdles to get him race-fit for this but the Ladbrokes Trophy is a huge step-up in grade for him, and I feel he is being thrown-in the deep end. Personally, I don't think he's shown himself to be an OR148 chaser and while he has the potential this trace is a big ask.  According to the Racing Post, in the past decade there have been 52 runners with a rating below OR146 with no winners, so while Flying Angel is highly thought of at home, will he be good enough on OR142, and will he be able to stay this trip? Finally we have West Approach also on OR142 and he could be one for the places as he ran well at Cheltenham to be 3rd over 3m1f on the 27th October and he is (was ) a very classy 3-mile hurdler.  

For me, the most likely winner is THOMAS PATRICK and the 6/1 on offer looks fair value.  I will be looking on Saturday morning for a longer-odds selection to steal some each-way place value, and the 40/1 on West Approach may be worth taking, 

Antepost advice:


Ladbrokes Trophy (handicap) Chase @ Newbury on Saturday 1st December
THOMAS PATRICK - £10 win @ 6/1 (available with Bet365, William Hill, Paddy Power etc)


3 comments:

  1. I totally get where you are coming from Ian but I have been backing Elegant Escape for months now. I really think that this horse will improve at least 8lbs for its first run, it has been laid out for this for the best part of a year. Tizzard is a masterclass with his chasers and I could not be happier.

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  2. Thanks Dominic. With only 13 runners now, the race takes on a different complexion and there is less scope for a shock result.

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  3. Dominic, I really hope you kept faith with Elegant Escape and recovered losses and hopefully profited from the win in the Welsh National.

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