The weights have been for the £250,000 Grade 3 Ladbrokes Trophy, the highlight of the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival at Newbury Racecourse on Saturday, December 2.
Topping the weights on 11st 12lb is the 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Coneygree (Mark Bradstock, 16/1 with Ladbrokes). A half-brother to 2011 Ladbrokes Trophy hero Carruthers, Coneygree was pulled-up on his seasonal reappearance in the G2 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on November 4 when sustaining an overreach but connections have subsequently revealed that the Ladbrokes Trophy could be a target for the 10-year-old. Second in the weights on 11st 11lb is Smad Place (Alan King, 20/1), winner of the Ladbrokes Trophy in 2015 and right back to form when successful in the G2 Old Roan Chase at Aintree on October 29.
Sharing favouritism at 8/1 with Ladbrokes are American (Harry Fry, 11st 4lb), who was impressive in winning all three of his starts last season and Total Recall (Willie Mullins IRE, 10st 8lb), successful in the JT McNamara Ladbrokes Munster National Handicap Chase at Limerick on October 8. Willie Mullins, Ireland’s champion Jump trainer, could also be represented by Acapella Bourgeois (10st 12lb, 16/1), a G2 scorer last season for former trainer Sandra Hughes plus Childrens List (10st 9lb, 33/1), Pleasant Company (10st 9lb, 33/1) and Polidam (9st 13lb).
Noel Meade is considering a tilt at the race with A Genie In Abottle (10st 13lb, 20/1). The progressive six-year-old, who is owned by Gigginstown House Stud, was a talented novice last season and ended the campaign with a good third behind stablemate Disko in a G1 contest at the Punchestown Festival.
A Genie In Abottle has a 100 per cent record from two starts this season, most recently defeating Tiger Roll (Gordon Elliott IRE, 10st 13lb, 25/1) by a length and a half in a Listed contest over just shy of three miles at Wexford on October 30.
Meade said yesterday: “The Ladbrokes Trophy is a possibility for A Genie In Abottle and I certainly wouldn’t rule it out, but I will have to discuss it with the owners.
“He has come out of Wexford good, so we will see how he is between now and Newbury and see what we think.
“He likes soft ground and looks to have the right sort of profile for the Ladbrokes Trophy.”
Reigning champion trainer Nicky Henderson, seeking a fourth Ladbrokes Trophy victory, has four contenders to choose from, headed by Whisper (11st 4lb, 12/1),who was runner-up in novices’ contests at Cheltenham and Aintree last season. The other contenders from Seven Barrows are O O Seven (10st 13lb, 20/1), Beware The Bear (10st 7lb, 25/1) and Vyta Du Roc(10st 1lb, 25/1).
Other leading contenders include Singlefarmpayment (Tom George, 10st 8lb), a narrow runner-up in a G3 handicap chase at the Cheltenham Festival last season, and Definitly Red (Brian Ellison, 11st 5lb, 16/1), who was third in the Charlie Hall Chase on Saturday.
Ladbrokes Trophy – Ladbrokes prices: 8/1 American, Total Recall; 12/1 Singlefarmpayment, Whisper; 16/1 Acapella Bourgeois, Coneygree, Definitly Red; 20/1 A Genie In Abottle , Alpha des Obeaux, O O Seven, Smad Place, Yala Enki; 25/1 Beware The Bear, Emerging Force, Mala Beach, Missed Approach, Polidam, Southfield Royale, Tiger Roll, Virgilio, Vyta du Roc; 33/1 As De Mee, Bigbadjohn, Braqueur d’Or, Carole’s Destrier, Champers On Ice, Childrens List, Cogry, Double Treasure, Label des Obeaux, Pilgrims Bay, Pleasant Company, Potters Legend, Present Man, Ptit Zig, Road To Riches, Royal Vacation, Shantou Flyer, Sizing Codelco, Theatre Guide, Traffic Fluide, Value At Risk, Vic de Touzaine, Vicente, Vieux Lion Rouge 40/1 Antony, Dark Flame, Double Ross, Flintham, General Principle, Kilcarry Bridge, Our Kaempfer, Lord Scoundrel; 50/1 Regal Encore, Rogue Angel, Roi des Francs, Thunder And Roses, Vino Griego, Wounded Warrior; 66/1 Perfect Candidate
Each-way ¼ odds 1-2-3-4
There is a scratchings deadline for the Ladbrokes Trophy on November 14, with the five-day confirmation stage on Monday, November 27.
The inaugural Ladbrokes Winter Carnival featuring the Ladbrokes Trophy, formerly the Hennessy Gold Cup, takes place on Friday 1 and Saturday 2 December 2017. The new sponsorship from Ladbrokes brings with it a larger prize pot for this year’s contenders with the two days now worth a total of £700,000 in prize money. The Ladbrokes Trophy alone has prize money of £250,000, an increase of £50,000 on 2016.
Since the handicap chase was first run as the Hennessy Gold Cup in 1957, it has become one of the major highlights of the Jump season with so many memorable performances over the last 60 years from the likes of Mill House, Arkle, Denman, Many Clouds and last year’s impressive winner, Native River.
The Ladbrokes Winter Carnival gets underway at Newbury on Friday, December 1, when the highlight is the £50,000 G2 Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle over three miles.
There is live coverage across both days of the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival. The broadcast will be on ITV4 on Friday, December 1 and ITV on Saturday, December 2, when The Opening Show is also hosted from Newbury, while Racing UK shows all races from the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival.