The newly-named Ladbrokes Trophy Chase at 3.00pm is the highlight of the second and final day of the Ladbrokes festival at Newbury this afternoon and 21 runners will be trying to claim the first prize of £142,375.
The favourite travels over from Ireland in the shape of Willie Mullins’ 8-y-o Total Recall, which is a top price 11-2 to triumph under Paul Townend. Winner of the Munster National by 7 lengths on stable debut at the beginning of October, the handicapper’s revenge puts it on an 18lbs higher mark today, albeit with a racing weight of only 10st 8lbs and we think, despite the trainer’s confidence, this is no value.
We go two against the field, starting with the Nicky Henderson trained Vyta Du Roc, available at a very acceptable 14-1. This 8-y-o ended last season with a narrow defeat in the bet365 Gold Cup and runs off just 3lbs higher today. A very satisfactory warm-up over hurdles 3 weeks ago will have put it spot on and, with usual pilot Daryl Jacob unable to do the weight, the booking of Aidan Coleman should ensure the horse is given every chance.
Our other suggestion is the Alan King representative Label Des Obeaux which is available at an artisan’s price of 40-1. This 6-y-o ran a highly commendable race against the mighty Might Bite last time out and has the ideal profile for this race, being a second season chaser with a mark of 153. Trip and ground no problem either, so the value punt.
Note that all bookmakers are offering at least 5 places on this race and Skybet & William Hils are paying 7 and Betfair 6.
The Ladbrokes John Francome Novices Chase at 12.45 has only five runners, but all are in with a chance. We suggest backing the potential of Fountains Windfall at 2-1.
The Sir Peter O’Sullevan Memorial Handicap Chase at 1.20 was won last year by the returning O Maonlai, which was also second the previous year, but on the principle that if you can’t pronounce it, you can’t back it, we oppose with an each way bet (1/4 odds) on Gold Present.
Big things are expected of this lightly raced 7-y-o this season and it can start its upward progress right here, right now.
There is an attractive bet in the 1.50, the Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle, a Class 2 event over two and a half miles. Coeur De Lion, trained by Alan King is rated 83 on the Flat and just missed out in the ballot for a crack at the Cesarewitch, which may be a blessing in disguise. Patently in need of a distance of ground, CDL steps up in trip for the first time over hurdles today and with the assistance of the improving stable conditional Kevin Dowling, who takes off a more than tasty 10lbs, the 9-1 on offer represents a cracking each way bet.
With the form of the race in which the favourite Air Horse One finished fourth working out so well (subsequent wins for the 1st, 2nd & 5th), we also suggest a win bet on Harry Fry’s charge at 4-1.
That’s it – I’m off for a glass of cognac.
Vyta Du Roc 3.00 Newbury e/w @ 14-1 (7 places Hills & Skybet) (6 places Betfair)
Label Des Obeaux 3.00 Newbury e/w @ 40-1 (7 places Hills & Skybet) (6 places Betfair)
Fountans Windfall 12.45 Newbury win @ 2-1
Gold Present 1.20 Newbury e/w @ 5-1
Coeur De Lion 1.50 Newbury e/w @ 9-1
Air Horse One 1.50 Newbury win @ 4-1