Ladbrokes Trophy Entries – The Stand Out Horses in Newbury’s Big Handicap

Cloth Cap and Tom Scudamore stride clear in last year's Ladbrokes TrophyCloth Cap and Tom Scudamore stride clear in last year's Ladbrokes Trophy

Seven Horses to Follow in the Big Race

Steeped in history, the Ladbrokes Trophy will be run for the 65th time at Newbury this weekend. 22 runners stand their ground and we’ve picked out a mixture of fancied runners and outsiders to look out for on Saturday.


Favourite – Ontheropes

Now in his third season as a chaser, ONTHEROPES remains a novice. He’s only raced over fences six times, but finally came good in Limerick’s Munster National after 316 days off the track. That race was won by stablemate Total Recall before he won the Ladbrokes Trophy in 2017, so the omens are good, and he’s able to race off only 1lb higher than his Irish mark. Any progression from his last run would give Willie Mullins an excellent chance of a repeat success.

Market Leaders – Eklat De Rire & Fiddlerontheroof

EKLAT DE RIRE represents 2021s dream combination of Henry de Bromhead and (likely) Rachael Blackmore. Three runs over fences last season produced two wins and an unseat in Monkfish’s Cheltenham Festival victory. However, he swiftly made amends on his return at Wexford, in a race won last year by stablemate and Gold Cup winner Minella Indo. Rated 154, he could prove a Grade 1 horse in a handicap here, though be warned: only one Irish-trained runner has won this race since 1981.

FIDDLERONTHEROOF was second no less than five times last season, including in the Festival Novices’ Chase in which Eklat De Rire unseated. However, his efforts were all extremely consistent and his win in Carlisle’s Colin Parker Intermediate Chase, won by stablemate Lostintranslation two years ago, was probably a career best. He should be suited by the step up in trip and the Tizzard team are building back up towards the big time.

Fancied Chances – Cloth Cap & Annamix

Last year’s winner CLOTH CAP tore the race apart with a phenomenal front-running display under Tom Scudamore. The positives for him include that the ground is likely to be to his liking once again and his comeback run at Cheltenham was very respectable and saw him dropped 2lbs. He is still 18lbs higher than when winning this 12 months ago and was pulled up when favourite for the Grand National, but his victory a year back was so comfortable that a repeat cannot be ruled out.

Another for Willie Mullins, and one of two for Rich Ricci, is ANNAMIX. Before this autumn, the grey had regularly found Graded company too far beyond him. However, having finished third in the Kerry National in September, he followed Galvin home in Grade 3 company on his latest start. That form has been franked by the winner since and he looks to have improved for stepping up to three miles. The extra two furlongs could also be to his benefit.

Outsiders – Danny Whizzbang & The Hollow Ginge

This time a year ago DANNY WHIZZBANG was one of the more fancied contenders for the Ladbrokes Trophy. But having won a Grade 2 novice chase at the Ladbrokes Trophy meeting two years ago, his form has dipped significantly. Perhaps a change of scenery will work wonders though, as he is now with the in-form Milton Harris after leaving Paul Nicholls. Not many horses improve for leaving Ditcheat, but Danny Whizzbnag may be one such example off what is now a very fair mark.

Meanwhile, THE HOLLOW GINGE finally ended his run of non-completions with a narrow second to Definite Plan at Cheltenham last month. A 5lb rise for that run might seem harsh, but he’s still 2lbs lower than when a long-priced fourth in this a year ago and the surface is in his favour. Given how well he ran a year ago, he shouldn’t be underestimated at the bottom of the market.