Our racing expert Ben Linfoot has been in great form in November with 10/1, 10/1, 12/1 and 18/1 winners - don't miss his preview for Ladbrokes Trophy day at Newbury.
Recommended Bets: Saturday, November 30
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There doesn’t look to be a superstar in this year’s Ladbrokes Trophy, a race that has unearthed many a Gold Cup star over the years.
The top three from last year’s RSA Chase are missing and other top novices like Lostintranslation have gone down other routes, so we have an open betting heat as a market that is 8/1 the field on Friday night suggests.
Ok Corral, Cabaret Queen and Mister Malarkey are vying for favouritism, with the latter the most appealing of the trio.
He was fourth in the aforementioned RSA Chase and, while he has to put a poor run at Ascot last time behind him, he has winning form at Newbury to his name.
With Jonjo O’Neill taking 3lb off and first-time cheekpieces applied he can go well, but he’s been well found in the market and I’m not even sure he’s the best of the Colin Tizzard-trained quartet.
Tizzard has won this race in two of the last three years and he has a strong hand this time around as well with Elegant Escape, West Approach and Robinsfirth also lining up.
West Approach is 4lb well-in and he’s a fascinating horse, a former serial loser who looks to have been reinvigorated by Robbie Power, a jockey who can do little wrong at present.
He’s handicapped to go close, but it will take some ride from Power to deliver him at the right time in a race of this nature.
De Rasher Counter has a big chance but has been pretty well found in the market, unlike TWO TAFFS who is available at a very fair 20/1 (BetVictor, Coral).
Dan Skelton’s horse has to prove he stays, but I thought he shaped like a stayer towards the end of his novice season and he’s by Flemensfirth, a National Hunt sire who has produced top stayers like Imperial Commander, Lostintranslation, Tidal Bay and plenty more besides.
If he stays he has a big chance, as he looks well handicapped after missing two years due to a ‘niggling foot problem’, and a mark of 146 looks workable considering how easily he won at Ayr off 142 when last seen in handicap chase company in the April of 2017.
He ran a cracker when running third in the West Yorkshire Hurdle on his reappearance and Skelton has an excellent record with horses on their second start after a long absence as you can see in the table below.
Dan Skelton 2nd run after long break examples
It’s obviously a risky play considering he hasn’t jumped a fence in public for so long, but this doesn’t look an exceptional renewal and his price more than compensates for that worry.
Skelton has the best strike-rate of all the Ladbrokes Trophy trainers in staying handicap chases and he looks to have targeted this horse at this race from some way out.
I do want two strings to my bow in the race and the other one that appeals is DINGO DOLLAR at 14/1 (General) for Alan King.
The one doubt with him is the ground, as he’d undoubtedly prefer a better surface, but he ran pretty well in the race last year on soft when third and he looks better equipped for the contest this time around.
For a start he’s more experienced and last year’s effort in the race will stand him in good stead, while he runs off a 2lb lower mark and King reaches for the first-time visor as well.
King has a good record when utilising a visor first-time up, winning 15 from 79 at 19 per cent, and it’s only four years since the Barbury Castle trainer landed this race with Smad Place.
Dingo Dollar looks to have all the attributes to go well in this contest, as he jumps well and stays well, while his prep race at this track in handicap hurdle company last time when third went perfectly.
He obviously goes well at Newbury as he bolted up here in novice handicap chase company a few years ago, and if that first-time visor improves him just a little bit I think he’s a huge player.
Earlier on the card STAR OF LANKA looks a good bet at 12/1 (General) in the Get Your Ladbrokes 1 Free Bet Today Handicap Hurdle at 1.50.
Warren Greatrex’s horse was good enough to finish fourth in the Lanzarote on just his fourth hurdle start last season and he didn’t run badly in Grade 2 company at Haydock next time out when fourth.
He finished just behind Stoney Mountain that day, a horse that won the big handicap hurdle at Haydock last week off a mark of 138, so it’s reasonable to think Star Of Lanka is well treated off 132 and that’s before we take the excellent Ben Jones’ 5lb claim into account.
In the summer he had wind surgery and he returned at Sandown with an excellent performance, finishing second to Fergal O’Brien’s Lord Of The Island after looking the most likely winner late on (traded at 1.4 in-running on Betfair).
Lord Of The Island had won very easily at Sandown before in similar heavy conditions, so it’s worth giving that form a positive slant and the pair were well clear of the third.
It’s reasonable to think Star Of Lanka will come on for that run and if he does he should give us a good run for our money at 12s, with another Fergal O’Brien-trained horse, Pride Of Lecale, the main danger.
In the Ladbrokes ‘Where The Nation Plays’ Intermediate Hurdle (Gerry Feilden) Nicky Henderson has a strong hand with Elusive Belle and Epatante heading the betting, but he may have to play second fiddle to his old rival Paul Nicholls who has an interesting contender in CHRISTOPHER WOOD at 8/1 (General).
Formerly with Michael Bell on the Flat, he won his first couple of novice hurdles for Nicholls last season, including an emphatic success at Newbury, and he went on to finish third in the Grade One 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle at Aintree after that behind Pentland Hills.
Sent off 6/1 for the Swinton, that came a bit too soon for him but he’s an interesting handicapper off 140 now and this looks the ideal race for him considering he likes the track.
He was well beaten in the Elite Hurdle behind Fusil Raffles, but Saturday represents a significant drop in class and that run should’ve put him spot on fitness wise.
Posted at 1700 GMT on 29/11/19
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