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Ladbrokes Trophy Tips

2018 Ladbrokes Trophy Preview

This year’s race promises to be just as spectacular, with many entrants who punters could see line up in either the Gold Cup or the Grand National later in the season. Our expert takes a look through the early betting and picks out two horses who could be worth an ante-post wager.


Three of my horses to track feature at the upper-end of the Ladbrokes Trophy betting, with the brilliant Elegant Escape leading the way after winning a Listed race on his reappearance. I truly believe there is a huge victory in this likeable young horse, but a large field event like this is completely new to Colin Tizzard’s charge and – when Thistlecrack inevitably comes out – Elegant Escape will have four pounds more on his back and won’t look so well handicapped.

Ms Parfois was treated very harshly by the handicapper last season, but her chances of making Phil Smith eat his words won’t be aided by the good-to-soft ground we’re likely to get at Newbury. Kemboy produced a career-best display to win on his reappearance and has a victory in a large-field handicap to his name, but Willie Mullins’ charge will take Thistlecrack’s spot at the head of the weights – should the former King George winner come out of the weights – and 11-12 will likely be too much for him to cope with.

With negatives against his rivals at the top of the market, THOMAS PATRICK could be the one to side with in the 2018 Ladbrokes Trophy. I remember thinking, after watching his victory at Aintree, that Tom Lacey’s chaser would be perfect for a race like the Ladbrokes Trophy and my faith in the six-year-old grew even strong after an important prep-run behind Elegant Escape.

Ladbrokes Trophy Betting Tips

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Ladbrokes Trophy

Founded in 1957, the Hennessy Gold Cup handicap chase was originally held at Cheltenham racecourse before switching to Newbury in 1960. The first winner of the race was a horse named Mandarin, owned by Peggy Hennessy who was a part of the family that founded Hennessy, the long-term sponsor of the contest. In 2015, Hennessy’s association with Newbury’s premier handicap chase became the longest running partnership in British racing and has seen the race excel in recent years.

The Hennessy Gold Cup is traditionally viewed as the first trial for the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March. Many second-season chasers attempt to showcase their talents for the first time in open company when utilising their potentially lenient handicap marks in the Hennessy Gold Cup. Bobs Worth in 2013 achieved the memorable double when winning the Hennessy and Cheltenham’s blue-riband event in the same season. It is an accomplishment widely-regarded as one of the toughest of the National Hunt campaign with very few runners capable of winning both lucrative prizes.

During the 2014/2015 jumps season, the Oliver Sherwood-trained Many Clouds became the first horse in racing history to win both the Hennessy Gold Cup and Grand National in the same season. It was a feat deemed as one of the greatest the sport has ever seen due to the fact that both races demand such exuberance from the National Hunt horse. Newbury’s 3m2f test is one in which sees stamina prevail due to the frantic early pace that meets its contenders. 

The timing of the Hennessy Gold Cup cements its position as one of the first established races of the new jump season and often gets the juices flowing of those eager racing fans that have waited all summer for top-class jumping action. With over £200,000 in the prize-pool, the Hennessy frequently attracts the best jump horses from across Britain and Ireland. The sport’s leading staying chasers are renowned for meeting in Newbury’s highlight handicap as a first taster for what the division will produce during the season. 

Hennessy Gold Cup History

The race as whole has produced many of racing’s greatest triumphant stories in recent years. The win of Denman in the 2009 renewal produced one of the most memorable experiences that the National Hunt game has ever witnessed. Shouldering top weight under jockey Ruby Walsh, Denman powered his way through the Hennessy field to win in emphatic style; cementing his place as one of the best chasers of all time. The horse had endured treatment for an irregular heartbeat 12 months prior to the win and was quickly discounted by many pundits who were unconvinced that he could return to the very top level.

However, under the tutorage of great trainer Paul Nicholls, Denman returned from the brink of retirement to storm up the Newbury straight in front of an ecstatic capacity crowd of over 18,000. His victory in 2009 showcased the emotion that the jump racing game brings to the wider public. Racing fans from across Britain and Ireland become increasingly gripped by the continued successes of their favourite National Hunt horses and often share their triumphs on a personal level. 

It is this superb medley of top-class jump racing, hair-raising atmosphere and winter fashion that makes Newbury’s Hennessy Gold Cup day one of the most exciting experiences of the season, and a must-see event for all racing enthusiasts.

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