Twenty-two horses stood their ground on Monday for the Ladbrokes Trophy (formerly Hennessy Gold Cup) at Newbury on Saturday with Irish raider Total Recall (9/2 with BetVictor) and Harry Fry’s American (6/1 with BetVictor) heading the market at the five-day stage.
The ground is sure to be testing at Lingfield for today’s jumps card but the opening Bumper will be run on polytrack and I am looking forward to the racecourse debut of Cavernous (1.00) for Ben Pauling. The selection is the brother of the stable’s Cheltenham Festival winner Willoughby Court and will get further in time, but he is taken to do what his brother couldn’t and win first time out.
Al Shahir (1.30) won a Newcastle Bumper on heavy ground last season and has lost little in defeat over timber so far this season finishing second at both Newton Abbot and Wetherby. He is obviously not one of the stars of the Dan Skelton yard but can get off the mark over timber at the third attempt.
There is a competitive and valuable Intermediate Handicap Chase and I hope to see an improved show from Emma Lavelle’s Full Irish who made his chase debut over an inadequate trip at Warwick (2m) and has the scope to make his mark over fences.
He must go close stepped up to three miles but he must give 20lbs to Allchilledout (3.00) who represents the inform Colin Tizzard yard and will come on markedly for his Chepstow reappearance when he ran well until looking to blow up in the home straight earlier in the month. The selection won second time out last season and he is only 4lbs higher than when winning under similar conditions last term.
I am convinced Vinnie Lewis (1.20) is well handicapped over fences but surprised connections persevere with a trip of three-and-a-quarter miles at Sedgefield this afternoon, given he travelled like much the best horse over this trip at Chepstow last time before fading into fourth off a 1lb higher mark. This sharper track should suit and he is sure to win races over the larger obstacles.
There is plenty of pace in the limited novices’ handicap chase and with the Sue Smith team in better form of late I hope to see Cracking Find (2.20) build on his recent Newcastle win when he made all from a 2lbs lower mark. The selection may have been a shade fortunate with Gris De Pron still going well when he came down two out when poised to challenge but he remains well treated reverting to handicap company.
Robin The Prey and Derintoher Yank also like to race from the front but Cracking Find’s solid jumping should hold him in good stead and jockey Danny Cook is top class from the front.