The Ladbrokes Trophy has been a profitable race for Matt Brocklebank over the years and he has a 25/1 fancy for the Newbury feature later this month.
1pt e.w. Demachine in Ladbrokes Trophy at 25/1 (Paddy Power, Betfair, bet365 1/4 1,2,3,4)
Such prominent Irish involvement in the Ladbrokes Trophy should make for a fascinating contest at Newbury and you only have to go back four years – the first time it was run under the current sponsorship – for the Willie Mullins-trained Total Recall winning on the back of an impressive Munster National success the previous month.
Ontheropes looks set to attempt the same double, by all accounts, and although running off a 12lb higher mark over here after reassessment, it can’t be read quite so strictly given the Anglo-Irish differential and it’s also well worth noting Total Recall was able to shrug off an 18lb hike in 2017, albeit from a lower starting point.
Ontheropes has to be respected but the Henry De Bromhead-trained Eklat De Rire might be the better suited of the Irish runners to this particular test and, given what the yard achieved last season, I’m a little surprised last month’s easy Wexford winner isn’t a touch shorter in the antepost books (7/1 available).
One thing his connections will clearly want to see over the next fortnight is a load of heavy rain as he unseated rider on his only previous outing on good to soft ground – the other five starts under Rules all coming in conditions described as heavy or soft to heavy.
Cloth Cap fairly bolted up on unseasonably quick ground here 12 months ago and it was good to see him post an encouraging enough comeback at Cheltenham in October, having made a noise and been pulled-up when sent off favourite for the Grand National on his final outing last season.
However, Jonjo O’Neill’s charge is 18lb higher than last year running off 154 and if there’s one from last year’s renewal well capable of bridging the gap it’s The Hollow Ginge, who very nearly won the aforementioned Cheltenham race in which he and Cloth Cap reappeared last month (free replay below).
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With the cheekpieces back on (replacing the visor worn on his four previous starts), The Hollow Ginge tanked into contention there and was only worn down by Gordon Elliott’s Definite Plan close home, before battling back to be beaten a head at the line.
It was a fine effort from Nigel Twiston-Davies’ eight-year-old, who has always promised to land a big one of this nature, and it’s a fine line between the subsequent 5lb rise ensuring he gets a run here, and it actually compromising his claims to success.
Paul Nicholls’ Enrilo and the Colin Tizzard-trained Fiddlerontheroof are two seven-year-old, second-season chasers with loads of room for improvement, though neither has been missed in the market, the latter having won the Colin Parker Memorial at Carlisle on his seasonal return.
I’d definitely prefer to back David Pipe’s Remastered despite the fact he was cut to 12/1 from 20s following a promising comeback over hurdles at Aintree earlier in the month, but if you’re interested in Remastered then there’s a decent case to be made for DEMACHINE in receipt of 4lb from his old rival.
Kerry Lee’s horse was second to Remastered in the Grade Two Reynoldstown Novices' Chase at Ascot when last seen in February, travelling really well for a long way before the winner outfought him after an untidy jump at the last.
He was resuming after a breathing operation that day and he did seem to cut out quite quickly again, but the subsequent layoff suggests they still had one or two issues to iron out.
Taking a chance now, without a prep run, obviously comes with risks attached but I’ve long been a fan of the Lee operation when it comes to getting them ready for a major target and it has to be said this horse was deadly first time out at Uttoxeter last October. Hopefully a planned racecourse gallop this week brings his preparation along nicely.
Demachine evidently loves soft ground but it wasn’t too bad when slamming Morning Vicar in the West Midlands on that occasion so I’m not too concerned if the rain largely stays away either, and at 25/1 he’s too big in the betting for a yard that consistently gets underestimated in such races.
Published 1630 GMT on 14/11/21
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