Elegant Escape favourite as 23 go forward for Ladbrokes Trophy – Dingo Dollar & Black Corton in good shape for Saturday’s £250,000 Newbury highlight

Ante-post favourite Elegant Escape headlines 23 five-day acceptors for the £250,000 Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury this Saturday, December 1, the highlight of day two of the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival.

Elegant Escape (Colin Tizzard, 11st 7lb including a 4lb penalty) is the 5/1 favourite for the very prestigious handicap chase with Ladbrokes following his half-length victory over Thomas Patrick (Tom Lacey, 11st, 11/2) in the Listed Future Stars Intermediate Chase at Sandown Park on November 11.

The six-year-old took high rank among the novice chasers last season, winning the G2 Ladbrokes John Francome Novices’ Chase at the 2017 Ladbrokes Winter Carnival before finishing third behind Presenting Percy in the G1 RSA Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

Trainer Colin Tizzard, who captured the Ladbrokes Trophy in 2016 with Native River, has also left in G2 National Hunt Chase third Sizing Tennessee (11st, 20/1) and West Approach (10st 8lb, 20/1).

Six-year-old Dingo Dollar (Alan King, 11st, 12/1) is set for his second start at Newbury this season after running well to finish fourth in the three-mile Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle on his November 8 reappearance.

Dingo Dollar is also already a winner over fences at Newbury, having bolted up by 15 lengths in a limited novices’ handicap chase, the St James’s Place Chase, at the track in December, 2017.

Wiltshire-based trainer Alan King, who won the Ladbrokes Trophy with Smad Place in 2015, revealed today: “Dingo Dollar is in in good form.

“I have been very happy with him since he ran over hurdles at Newbury and the Ladbrokes Trophy is definitely the plan.

“He had a school over fences last week. He is in good order and I hope there is not too much rain at Newbury for him.

“It is a big ask for him, but he is entitled to go there. We are looking forward to the race and we’ll see how he gets on.”

Dingo Dollar is set to be ridden by regular rider Wayne Hutchinson.

Paul Nicholls is looking forward to saddling Black Corton (11st 9lb, 12/1) after the seven-year-old chaser finished second, despite a bad mistake, on his reappearance in the G2 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on November 3.

Emerging jockey Bryony Frost struck up an excellent partnership with Black Corton last season and the pair combined to win the G1 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day, with Elegant Escape a length and a half back in second and six other chases.

Somerset-based Nicholls, who has won the Ladbrokes Trophy three times as a trainer with Strong Flow (2003) and Denman (2007 & 2009), and twice as a jockey, commented today: “Black Corton is fine and the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury on Saturday is the plan.

“I am surprised we are such a big price compared to Elegant Escape given the close form of our race at Newbury where we gave him weight and were beaten half a length. We also beat him at Kempton.

“Black Corton ran really well in the Charlie Hall, finishing second, but he has gone up 4lb for that, which hasn’t helped him.

“He is going to end up with plenty of weight for a second-season novice, which isn’t ideal because normally with a second-season novice you would expect to have a nice, tidy weight. For such a good run in the Charlie Hall, we have shot ourselves in the foot a little bit.

“He is very versatile on the ground and doesn’t mind too much. But if it is very deep, then carrying a lot of weight is not going to help.

“Bryony Frost will be on board.”

Seven of the nine Irish-trained acceptors for the Ladbrokes Trophy are from the stable of Willie Mullins as he goes for back-to-back victories in Britain’s richest handicap chase outside of the Grand National at Aintree.

Kemboy (joint top-weight 11st 12lb including 3lb penalty) is the shortest-priced of those at 6/1 following his three-length victory in the G2 Clonmel Oil Chase on November 15.

Ireland’s champion jump trainer could also run the 2017 victor Total Recall (11st 8lb, 14/1), who has the chance to become the fourth dual winner of the Ladbrokes Trophy, and G2 National Hunt Chase winner Rathvinden (11st 6lb, 16/1).

Exciting second-season chaser Al Boum Photo (11st 11lb, 10/1), Isleofhopendreams (10st 10lb, 14/1) and the Graham Wylie-owned pair of Up For Review (10st 12lb, 14/1) and Invitation Only (11st 4lb, 20/1) complete the Mullins septet.

Fellow Irish handler Gordon Elliott is responsible for joint top-weight Don Poli (11st 12lb, 16/1) and Monbeg Notorious (11st 3lb, 20/1), impressive winner of the Thyestes Handicap Chase at Gowran Park in January.

G1 Mildmay Novices’ Chase second Ms Parfois (Anthony Honeyball, 10st 12lb, 7/1) has the chance to emulate Kerstin (1959), the only mare to have won the Ladbrokes Trophy, while American (Harry Fry, 11st 6lb, 14/1) could have another tilt at the race, having bombed out when sent off second favourite in 2017.

The 23 confirmations are completed by rejuvenated chaser The Young Master (Neil Mulholland, 10st 5lb including 4lb penalty, 12/1), Otago Trail (Venetia Williams, 11st 4lb, 25/1), Beware The Bear (Nicky Henderson, 11st, 33/1), Go Conquer (Nigel Twiston-Davies, 10st 13lb, 25/1), Flying Angel (Nigel Twiston-Davies, 10st 8lb, 20/1) and Allyson Monterg (10st 10lb, Richard Hobson, 25/1).

Ladbrokes Trophy, Ladbrokes prices: 5/1 Elegant Escape; 11/2 Thomas Patrick; 6/1 Kemboy; 7/1 Ms Parfois; 10/1 Al Boum Photo; 12/1 Black Corton, Dingo Dollar, The Young Master; 14/1 Isleofhopeanddreams, Total Recall, American, Up For Review; 16/1 Don Poli, Rathvinden; 20/1 Monbeg Notorious, West Approach, Invitation Only, Flying Angel, Sizing Tennessee; 25/1 Go Conquer, Otago Trail, Allysson Monterg; 33/1 Beware The Bear

Nicola McGeady, Head of PR for Ladbrokes, said: “We are very pleased with today’s confirmations and another enthralling renewal looks set to take centre stage on Saturday.

“With rain forecast, Ms Parfois has attracted the majority of support thus far, but it is Colin Tizzard’s Elegant Escape who we make the one to beat.

“Of course, ground can always cause concerns in the lead-up to major races so from today we are delighted to offer our punters the security of non-runner no-bet.”

Newbury’s seven-race programme on Saturday also includes the £50,000 Listed Ladbrokes Intermediate Hurdle (2.25pm), a limited handicap over two miles.

Nicky Henderson accounts for five of the 18 entries, with his team headed by G3 Imperial Cup third Whatswrongwithyou and Champ, who has won two of his three starts over hurdles and yet to run in a handicap.

Others to note include Ballymoy (Nigel Twiston-Davies), who has won his last four including competitive handicap hurdles at Sandown Park and Chepstow, and possible Irish challenger Espoir D’Allen (Gavin Cromwell), an 11-length winner of the G3 Fishery Lane Hurdle at Naas on November 10.

Racing starts at 12.10pm and ends at 3.35pm, with live music after racing in the Long Shot Marquee from the popular Chip Shop Boys.

Tickets for the day will be available on the gate.

The Ladbrokes Trophy

Grade 3 handicap chase, £250,000 total prize fund. Newbury, Saturday, December 1. Three miles and two furlongs (3m 1f 214y). For four-year-olds and upwards. Penalties: after November 4, a winner of a chase 4lb, a winner of two chases 7lb – no penalty to increase a horse’s weight above 11st 12lb. Entries closed October 30, entries revealed October 31 (56 entries, 1 subsequently scratched). Weights revealed November 7, scratchings deadline November 13 (42 remained), five-day confirmation stage November 26 (23 confirmations), final declarations November 29. Maximum field 24, plus 2 reserves.

Horse Age Wgt Owner Trainer
DON POLI (IRE) 9 11-12 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE
KEMBOY (FR) 6 11-12 (3lb ex) Supreme Racing/Brett Graham/Ken Sharp Willie Mullins IRE
AL BOUM PHOTO (FR) 6 11-11 Mrs J Donnelly Willie Mullins IRE
BLACK CORTON (FR) 7 11-09 The Brooks, Stewart Families & J Kyle Paul Nicholls 
TOTAL RECALL (IRE) 9 11-08 Slaneyville Syndicate Willie Mullins IRE
ELEGANT ESCAPE (IRE) 6 11-07 (4lb ex) J P Romans Colin Tizzard 
AMERICAN (FR) 8 11-06 The Jago Family Partnership Harry Fry 
RATHVINDEN (IRE) 10 11-06 R A Bartlett Willie Mullins IRE
OTAGO TRAIL (IRE) 10 11-04 Mrs Marie Shone Venetia Williams 
INVITATION ONLY (IRE) 7 11-04 Andrea & Graham Wylie Willie Mullins IRE
MONBEG NOTORIOUS (IRE) 7 11-03 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE
DINGO DOLLAR (IRE) 6 11-00 M Warren J Holmes R Kidner & J Wright Alan King 
THOMAS PATRICK (IRE) 6 11-00 David Kellett Tom Lacey 
SIZING TENNESSEE (IRE) 10 11-00 Ann & Alan Potts Limited Colin Tizzard 
BEWARE THE BEAR (IRE) 8 11-00 G B Barlow Nicky Henderson 
GO CONQUER (IRE) 9 10-13 Paul & Clare Rooney Nigel Twiston-Davies 
UP FOR REVIEW (IRE) 9 10-12 Andrea & Graham Wylie Willie Mullins IRE
MS PARFOIS (IRE) 7 10-12 M R Chapman Anthony Honeyball 
ISLEOFHOPENDREAMS 11 10-10 Kilbroney Racing Willie Mullins IRE
ALLYSSON MONTERG (FR) 8 10-10 D W Fox Richard Hobson 
FLYING ANGEL (IRE) 7 10-08 R J Rexton Nigel Twiston-Davies 
WEST APPROACH 8 10-08 John and Heather Snook Colin Tizzard 
THE YOUNG MASTER 9 10-05 (4lb ex) Mike Burbidge & The Old Masters Neil Mulholland 

23 five-day confirmations

9 Irish-trained

Sam Spinner and Santini among entries on day one of Ladbrokes Winter Carnival

Staying hurdlers take centre stage on day one of the Ladbrokes Winter, Friday, November 30, with an excellent seven-race card headlined by the £50,000 G2 Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle (3.00pm, nine entries) over three miles.

Sam Spinner (Jedd O’Keeffe) sets the standard with a rating of 164. The six-year-old looked a potential star when capturing the G1 Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot last December, though he did not replicate that form on his next two starts at Cheltenham and Aintree.

G1 Stayers’ Hurdle third Wholestone (Nigel Twiston-Davies) is a three-time winner at G2 level and made a successful comeback in a two and a half mile conditions hurdle at Aintree on November 10.

Harry Fry has two entries in Unowhatimeanharry, winner of this race in 2016 and second last year, and exciting mare Momella. Unowhatimeanharry finished four and a quarter lengths behind Wholestone at Aintree, his first start since undergoing a wind operation, while the G1-placed Momella have her first for yard since moving from Dan Skelton.

The nine entries also feature G1 Aintree hurdle third Clyne (Evan Williams), who has yet to race over further than two miles and five furlongs.

Ante-post G1 RSA Chase favourite Santini (Nicky Henderson) is likely to begin his chasing career in the £40,000 G2 Ladbrokes Novices’ Chase (1.50pm) over two and a half miles. Henderson won this race in 2011 with future Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Bobs Worth.

The 11 entries also feature Bags Groove (Harry Fry), who is two from two over fences after commanding success in the G2 Rising Stars Novices’ Chase at Wincanton on November 10, impressive Chepstow scorer Spiritofthegames (Dan Skelton) and La Bague Au Roi (Warren Greatrex), who got the better of Lostintranslation (Colin Tizzard) in a novices’ chase at at Newbury’s opening Jump fixture on November 8.

G1-winning hurdler Willoughby Court (Ben Pauling) could make his seasonal reappearance in the big handicap on the card, the £50,000 Ladbrokes Handicap Chase (2.25pm, 16 entries) over two and a half miles.

After capturing the G2 Ladbrokes Novices’ Chase at the 2017 Ladbrokes Winter Carnival, Willoughby Court finished third in a similar contest at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day and has not raced since.

The Mighty Don (Nick Gifford), successful in a three-mile handicap hurdle at Cheltenham last month, could bid to double up in the concluding Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle (3.35pm) over three miles.

The 25 entries also include 2015 Coral Cup victor Aux Ptits Sons, who could have his first start for Dan Skelton having been off the track for over 600 days, and interesting French import Dragon D’Estruval (Nicky Henderson), winner of his sole UK start at Ffos Las in May.

The action gets underway at 12.10pm and ends at 3.35pm.

Going news

The official going at Newbury this morning was Good to Soft, Good in places.

Weather forecast:

Today – overcast with a risk of a light shower this afternoon.

Tuesday – rain from mid-morning to early evening.

Wednesday – rain overnight into the day.

Thursday – showery.

Friday – risk of showers.

Saturdat – risk of showers.

Temperatures – becoming milder through the week.

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