Ladbrokes Trophy Date is Saturday, 28 November 2020

Racecourse: Newbury

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Type: Grade 3 National Hunt Handicap Steeplechase

Age Of The Horses: For Four Year Olds And Up

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Distance: 3 Miles, 1 Furlong & 214 Yards

2020 Winner: Cloth Cap

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2020 Ladbrokes Trophy Race Result

What Happened in 2020?

The horse carrying bottom weight in the Ladbrokes Trophy, Cloth Cap, enjoyed sustained support from punters and advertised his Grand National claims with a brave and bold round of jumping. His was a bloodless 10-length victory in the hands of Tom Scudamore for trainer Jonjo O’Neill and veteran owner Trevor Hemmings. Sent off a well-backed 9/1, Cloth Cap never saw a rival as he made all the running under positive tactics. The sound surface at Newbury and getting into a good jumping rhythm out in front were the key to this sensational victory. He had many rivals toiling in his wake.

Colin Tizzard’s stable has enjoyed a good recent record in the race, but bother of his runners failed to get round with 12/1 chance Copperhead pulled up on the first circuit and 16/1 shot Mister Malarky unseating his rider at fence nine. Other market principals also failed to complete with Alan King’s Potterman making a race-ending blunder at the open ditch in the back straight after being back into 11/1 from 40/1 ante post. Ladbrokes Trophy joint-favourite Vinndication took a tumble at the 17th, while the late plunge on Danny Whizzbang came to naught as late call-up jockey Bryony Frost pulled Paul Nicholls’s charge up approaching that fence.

Kim Bailey’s other runner, Two For Gold (11/1), also didn’t complete, joining Anthony Honeyball trained veteran Regal Encore in pulling up in the home straight. By then, the bird had flown as Cloth Cap left northern raider Aye Right from the modest stable of Harriet Graham to chase him home at odds of 12/1 on jockey Callum Bewley’s first-ever ride at Newbury. Last year’s Ladbrokes Trophy runner-up The Conditional (14/1) placed third for David Bridgwater and Brendan Powell. Unfancied horses filled the minor places as 50/1 chance The Hollow Ginge ran fourth for Nigel Twiston-Davies and Gavin Sheehan, with Nicky Henderson’s Beware The Bear next home. Kildisart did best of the market leaders with Ben Pauling’s 8/1 chance finishing seventh. Of the 18-runner field, 11 got home and trailing in last of those was the other 15/2 joint-favourite Secret Investor for Nicholls.

What to Do Next?

Ladbrokes Trophy

A Grade 3 handicap chase run over 3¼ miles, the Ladbrokes Trophy acts as one of the most important early trials for the Gold Cup at Cheltenham and these days comes with a prize fund of £250,000.

The race was established in 1957 and run for many years as the Hennessy Gold Cup, those days at Cheltenham. Since 1960 though the event has been run at Newbury at the end of November or beginning of December every year. Hennessy gave up their sponsorship after the 60th running in 2016 with Ladbrokes picking up the mantle.

As a tough test over the Gold Cup distance, it is a proper Blue Riband trial but as a handicap it’s always possible that Cheltenham contenders have too much weight to carry. Only Denman and Bobs Worth have gone on to win the big one in March having first taken this race.

The 2020 edition will take place on Saturday November 28.

2020 Ladbrokes Trophy Runners & Favourites

The early closing entries for the Ladbrokes Trophy have been reduced to 19 runners at the penultimate (five-day) declaration stage. That means each horse still in the race could line-up at Newbury. This is the list of 2020 Ladbrokes Trophy runners in weight order as this is a handicap:

  1. Ballyoptic (Nigel Twiston-Davies)
  2. Vinndication (Kim Bailey)
  3. Secret Investor (Paul Nicholls)
  4. Beware The Bear (Nicky Henderson)
  5. Kildisart (Ben Pauling)
  6. Copperhead (Colin Tizzard)
  7. Sam Brown (Anthony Honeyball)
  8. Regal Encore (Anthony Honeyball)
  9. Aye Right (Harriet Graham)
  10. Black Op (Tom George)
  11. Mister Malarky (Colin Tizzard)
  12. Two For Gold (Kim Bailey)
  13. The Conditional (David Bridgwater)
  14. Danny Whizzbang (Paul Nicholls)
  15. La Bague Au Roi (Warren Greatrex)
  16. The Hollow Ginge (Nigel Twiston-Davies)
  17. Potterman (Alan King)
  18. Ardlethen (Dan Skelton)
  19. Cloth Cap (Jonjo O’Neill)

Aye Right (8/1)

Harriet Graham may have one of the more modest stables in Britain, but Aye Right has run some big races in defeat. Despite limited experience of fences, he was able to finish fifth in the RSA Chase despite just completing once previously over the larger obstacles. Aye Right outran odds of 100/1 that day and, despite being no match for Champ or the two horses he overhauled when getting up the Cheltenham hill best, the form has been franked since. The runner-up, Minella Indo, has landed graded races at Wexford and Navan. So has Battleoverdoyen, the fourth home.

Even horses which failed to complete in the RSA, Easy Game and Pym, have come out and won. The Ladbrokes Trophy should be easier than Grade 1 company. Aye Right came on for his reappearance at Kelso when beaten just seven lengths by Cyrname and finishing third behind Vinndication in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby. He could meet the runner-up off 7lb better terms if Kim Bailey’s horse re-opposes here. With just five lengths between them, that form could be reversed. That is why Aye Right has odds of 8/1 and is among the leading Ladbrokes Trophy contenders this term.

Copperhead (9/1)

Colin Tizzard also loves have runners in the Ladbrokes Trophy and sent four out from his Venn Farm stables last season. He has also won two of the last four renewals; so, according to the betting, his leading hope for the Newbury Winter Carnival feature this year is Copperhead. A smart young chaser aged just six, he won the Mandarin Handicap Chase over course and distance in December 2019.

He has progressed since then to land the Grade 2 Reynoldstown at Ascot and was sent off a 6/1 shot for the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival when taking a tired fall at the last. Although Copperhead needed his reappearance run before winning over fences, Tizzard sends him to Wetherby for the West Yorkshire Hurdle and that spin over the smaller obstacles has the all the makings of a pipe opener.

The yard did exactly the same with Native River in 2016 and it worked well. Copperhead, who is three from five in chases, also gets a couple of pounds slack from the handicapper following a 10lb rise in his rating from Ascot to Cheltenham. As his stable targets Ladbrokes Trophy success year in and year out, it is no surprise to see him prominent in the ante post betting at 9/1 with William Hill.

The Conditional (12/1)

Last year’s runner-up The Conditional could bid to go one better off a 10lb higher rating. That looks like a big ask on paper, but this dual Cheltenham winner has come into his own since joining the David Bridgwater stable. He has never been out of the first four in his five starts for the yard last season. Trying an even longer trip in the Classic Handicap Chase at Warwick didn’t work out after his Ladbrokes Trophy exploits, so three-and-a-quarter miles might be as far as his stamina holds.

The Conditional gets on well with jockey Brendan Powell, who partnered him in all but one outing last term. Success for the duo in the Ultima Handicap Chase, another ultra-competitive Grade 3 contest, suggests there could still be more to come from them. That Cheltenham Festival success saw The Conditional beat Kildisart by a neck and pull a couple of lengths clear of Irish raider Discorama and Vinndication, who is a similar price for Ladbrokes Trophy success.

Any horse with a good record around Cheltenham is always worth considering at Newbury, for all it is a flatter track than the undulations of Prestbury Park. The Conditional really was one of the plucky underdog successes of the last National Hunt season. Despite his modest connections, a bold bid cannot be ruled out and that is why bookmakers go 12/1 about his Ladbrokes Trophy chances.

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Ladbrokes Trophy Stats & Trends

As you can see from the list of Ladbrokes Trophy Chase winners, there’s nothing much we can glean from jockeys as the success has been well spread out. Generally speaking, the race is won by a top yard as despite this being a handicap it is one of the more important early Gold Cup trials, so give a little more credence to those coming from successful stables.

In terms of the pattern of Ladbrokes Trophy betting, 6 out of 19 favourites have won the race since 2000 which is actually bang on the average for the number of winning favourites across UK racing. Furthermore, 14 out of 19 were priced at 10/1 or lower so despite a very fair average return of 9/1 it seems concentrating on those near the head of the market can pay dividends.

Knowing the statistics that lie behind a big betting race like the Ladbrokes Trophy can help you to find the winner. There are no guarantees of course, but prevailing trends often help you to make better decisions when betting. These Ladbrokes Trophy stats are well worth knowing:

  • Most successful horses – Just three horses in the storied history of this race have won it more than once. All of them have events of their own: Mandarin (1957 and 1961), Arkle (1964 and 1965), and Denman (2007 and 2009).
  • Most successful jockeys – Willie Robinson still holds the record for most winning rides in the Ladbrokes Trophy with three. Of active jockeys, Tom Scudamore has two victories.
  • Most successful trainers – Legendary handler Fulke Walwyn stands alone, saddling seven winners of the Ladbrokes Trophy when it was the Hennessy Gold Cup. Of active trainers, both Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls have enjoyed three successes in the race. Colin Tizzard, meanwhile, has the best record in recent years with two victories in the last four years.
  • Age – The vast majority of Ladbrokes Trophy winners are aged between six and eight. This race clearly favours younger horses, particularly those who are second season steeplechasers moving from novice company into this open handicap.
  • Favourites – Four of the last 11 market leaders have justified their status at the head of the betting. This is a better than average record for favourites in races of this nature. Half of the previous 12 winners were in the first three in the betting.
  • Ratings – In 11 of the last dozen renewals of the Ladbrokes Trophy, the winning horse had an official handicap mark of 147 or higher. It takes a top-class performer to land the spoils.
  • Weight – Six of the previous eight and 11 of the last 15 winners all carried over 11 stone to victory. This suggests that heavier weights are no barrier to success in the Ladbrokes Trophy.

Past Ladbrokes Trophy Winners

Year Winner Age Jockey Trainer Festival Performance
2019 De Rasher Counter 7 Ben Jones Emma Lavelle Did not race
2018 Sizing Tennessee 10 Tom Scudamore Colin Tizzard Did not race
2017 Total Recall 8 Paul Townend Willie Mullins Fell in Gold Cup
2016 Native River 6 Richard Johnson Colin Tizzard 3rd in Gold Cup
2015 Smad Place 8 Wayne Hutchinson Alan King 6th in Gold Cup
2014 Many Clouds 7 Leighton Aspell Oliver Sherwood 6th in Gold Cup
2013 Triolo D’Alene 6 Barry Geraghty Nicky Henderson 10th in Gold Cup
2012 Bobs Worth 7 Barry Geraghty Nicky Henderson 1st in Gold Cup
2011 Carruthers 8 Mattie Batchelor Mark Bradstock 10th in Gold Cup
2010 Diamond Harry 7 Daryl Jacob Nick Williams Pulled-up in Gold Cup

What Happened in 2019?

De Rasher Counter ensured there was a Winter Carnival big race double for trainer Emma Lavelle, adding Ladbrokes Trophy success to Paisley Park’s win in the Long Distance Hurdle 24 hours earlier. Ridden by 5lb claimer Ben Jones, he actually drifted in the betting after opening on course at 10/1 out to a 12/1 starting price but that market weakness was no barrier to success over some more lauded rivals.

After tracking the leaders and seeing the 13/2 favourite West Approach – one of four in the race trained by Colin Tizzard – unseat at the seventh fence, De Rasher Counter was upsides crossing the 15th. Leading Irish fancy Cabaret Queen (8/1) was among those struggling on the second circuit and pulled up, but the winner took things up approaching four from home and never looked back.

As De Rasher Counter stayed on strongly and only needed driving out by Jones to make sure of victory, he ran out 1½ lengths clear of The Conditional – a 20/1 shot trained by David Bridgwater and ridden by another young jockey in Brendan Powell. The staying on Elegant Escape was a further half-length back in third at 15/2 for Harry Cobden and Tizzard with Nicky Henderson’s Beware The Bear (25/1) rounding out the first four.

That front quartet were separated by just 2¼ lengths, but had the remainder of the field that finished (17 in total) well strung out. Of the 24 that went to post for the Ladbrokes Trophy, seven failed to complete with a faller, Yorkhill, joining West Approach and four others besides Cabaret Queen to pull up.