Racing News Blog
The season is coming along nicely now with some real emerging talent over timber and some of last season’s class going well over fences. It won’t be long until we sit down on Boxing day for the famous King George Chase.
Until then though we have a big race to talk about this weekend. The Ladbrokes Trophy Chase ( Formerly known as the Hennessy Chase).
15:00 Newbury 2 Dec 2017
Richard Johnson lifts the Hennessy Gold cup after his win on Native River in 2016.
So lets start at the top of the weights because an interesting stat is that 10 of the last 12 winners of this race have carried 11 stone or more. You have to go back to the great Denman to find a horse that won this race running off a bigger mark of 165 at a weight of 11 – 12. He won off 161 in 2007 and 174 in 2009. Coneygree heads the weights at 11- 12 tomorrow. He has been lightly raced in his career and in truth we don’t really know what we are getting.
Last time out he went off as 7/4 favourite and he made mistakes jumping and was pulled up. Connections blamed the low sun for his below par performance. If you can forgive the 2015 Cheltenham Gold cup winner for that poor performance and go off his previous run at Punchestown then a bold bid from the front is possible. He raced off a mark of 166 that day and finished a very good 3rd. That was on good ground and tomorrow conditions should suit more.
Davey Russell gets on well with Whisper and although it was only a two horse affair he picked up a win in a grade 2 race last time out beating Clan des obeaux who then franked the form by winning off our trading watch list last weekend. He won twice and runner up twice in novice company last season. He could go well here on a race Nicky Henderson has targeted for him.
American has won three from three over fences all on soft ground and this is his seasonal first start. He looks a natural over fences and Harry Fry’s runners normally go well fresh. This race has always been a target for the stable. He should have a good chance and go well here.
Willie Mullins sends Total Recall across the Irish sea and he is the current favourite. He won for his new yard first time out in October in the Munster National at Limerick but takes a huge 18lb hike in weight for this race and is a bit of an unknown if he can improve on that or not.
Another from Ireland is the Gigginstown A Genie in abottle. Won his two runs this season on soft and can’t be dismissed after finishing third in a Grade 1 in April. However you have to go back 37 years since an Irish runner won this race.
Cogry at the price could out run his odds but the worry is he likes to be well up with the pace and probably won’t get his own way out in front here. He has gone up 6lb for his excellent win at Cheltenham beating Singlefarmpayment convincingly last time out.
Bryony Frost has been in the headlines in recent weekends for some excellent winners and she won last time out on Present man on soft ground in the Badger ales. Talk before the race was he would not like the soft ground and stayed on strong to prove the doubters wrong. He would prefer to be running up with the pace early.
Trainer Colin Tizzard won this race last season with Native River he brings Royal Vacationto the party who had a good season as a novice last year. He finished 3rd at Wetherby on seasonal first with Splash of Ginge in 4th who went onto to win a grade 3 at Cheltenham so the form has been franked there. The ground should suit.
Richard Johnson was on board Native River last year and the champion jockey takes the ride on Missed Approach. his chances are slimmer this year on this animal however if he can reproduce the form of the 4 miler at the Cheltenham festival finishing runner up to Tiger Roll he could be involved at the business end of the race.
Of course we could make a claim for others in this huge 21 runner field however in Summary this is going to potentially be a very competitive race. If Coneygree is back to his best out in front he could take all the beating however there are some talented progressive animals in here and I will look to back Coneygree if travelling well in front with an eye on American and and Whisper. If there is not an obvious safe place to put our money it could be one to just sit back and enjoy.