Matt Brocklebank tipped the Ladbrokes Trophy winner at 33/1 last year and launches his winter column with another big-priced tip for the Newbury feature.
For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record
Barring the brilliant Carlisle winner Lostintranslation, last year’s novice chasers haven’t quite set the world alight just yet and it looks a case of plenty of them essentially being badly handicapped.
Take Santini, for example. He seems to divide opinion but at face value he was beaten in an RSA Chase and would normally be considered an absolutely ideal type for a race like the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury.
With a whopping mark of 163, however, he’d have ended up top weight in this year’s edition and ultimately it’s perfectly understandable to see connections look elsewhere.
Kildisart (155) looks another quite harshly treated second-season chaser, along with Alan King’s Talkischeap (157) – both are going to need to be close to Grade One class to defy their marks in this event.
It’s a bit more realistic to think that Ok Corral (151) could have something to spare from his current rating but he’s been well found in the betting and at a much bigger price DE RASHER COUNTER (33/1 Sky Bet, 888Sport, Unibet) stands out.
Everything about him screams ‘Newbury in winter’, not least because he beat Walt in a novices’ handicap chase at this venue last December, form that was franked quite nicely with the runner-up going on to win at Kempton off 5lb higher on his next start.
After opening his chase account at Newbury that day, De Rasher Counter went on to finish second to Now McGinty when giving him 6lb at Chepstow, before signing off for the season with a resounding success on heavy going at Uttoxeter.
That race has been won by some good horses down the years, including Harry Fry’s American (2017) who was sent off 5/1 for the Ladbrokes Trophy on his very next start.
That helps put De Rasher Counter’s price into some sort of context while he also has the benefit of a pipe-opening spin over hurdles back at Uttoxeter last month.
The red-hot conditional Ben Jones rode him on that occasion which opens up the prospect of him getting on board and taking off a valuable 5lb at Newbury, but even with Adam Wedge back in the saddle, Emma Lavelle’s seven-year-old could well be capable of defying his revised rating (149).
Lavelle historically does well at this time of the year and has been in sizzling form through the early weeks of November already, while she’s seemingly confirmed her big-race contender to be on course for a Newbury gallop at the Winter Festival press launch next Tuesday.
If all goes well there then it’s very hard to see his current price holding up and should the stable continue to fire in the winners De Rasher Counter may genuinely end up nearer the top of the Ladbrokes Trophy betting than the bottom.
Of the more established chasers in the potential field, Cabaret Queen obviously deserves a mention. She’s joined Willie Mullins from Dan Skelton which is quite eye-catching in its own right but the manner of her Munster National victory at Limerick was pretty sensational.
The British handicapper has opted for a mark of 146 which may well prove to be lenient in the fullness of time but given her rather patchy record for previous connections, she looks short enough now in the market (10s at the time of writing).
Of slightly more interest is the Colin Tizzard-trained Robinsfirth, who is 25/1 and not without claims.
He’s a 10-year-old now but remains lightly raced as a staying chaser and he’s always been very smart on his day.
He was last seen beating Ramses De Teillee in the Grand National Trial at Haydock in February, for which he’s gone up another 5lb to a mark of 153. That mark might prove just beyond him but he’s not been the easiest to train and could be the type to be absolutely fired up for one big run on his seasonal reappearance here.
Tizzard – whose Sizing Tennessee won the race aged 10 last year – knows exactly what’s required and anything he runs must be greatly respected, though Robinsfirth’s fragility is just enough to put me off backing him.
Posted at 1555 GMT on 13/11/19.