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Eklat De Rire heads 21 seeking Ladbrokes Trophy gold

Thu 25 Nov 2021

Henry de Bromhead will aim to continue his domination of the major National Hunt prizes in Britain when Eklat De Rire lines up in a field of 21 for the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury on Saturday.

Having dominated the last Cheltenham Festival by winning the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and saddling the first two home in the Gold Cup, De Bromhead then went on to provide the first two finishers in the Grand National.

Last weekend he proved he has not taken his foot off the gas when A Plus Tard turned the Betfair Chase into a procession and Eklat De Rire has been among the market leaders for one of the feature races of the season since making a winning comeback at Wexford.


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Stablemate Chris’s Dream, however, does not make the journey meaning the weights rise by 4lb, leaving Willie Mullins’ Brahma Bull at the top.

Mullins also runs Munster National winner Ontheropes, another leading ante-post fancy and the mount of Sean O’Keeffe, and Annamix (Jack Foley).

Last year’s winner Cloth Cap is back once more, but will find life a bit tougher this time around on his mark of 154.

The in-form Colin Tizzard runs Fiddlerontheroof, successful on his comeback in a strong race at Carlisle and Copperhead, winner of the Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase in 2020 before losing his way completely last season. Mister Malarky is another going for Tizzard.

Paul Nicholls is represented by Enrilo, first past the post in the bet365 Gold Cup only to be demoted to third, while the beneficiary of that decision, Alan King’s Potterman, also runs. Stablemate Canelo also lines up.

Kitty’s Light was second in that Sandown race, as well as in the Charlie Hall Chase last time out and will aim to give Christian Williams a first win in the race while Remastered, last year’s Reynoldstown winner, goes for David Pipe.

Demachine, Brave Eagle, The Hollow Ginge, Cloudy Glen, Fortescue, Full Back, One More Fleurie and Danny Whizzbang complete the field.

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Epatate heads six in Fighting Fifth

 Epatante seeks a repeat win (Pic: Focusonracing)
Epatante seeks a repeat win (Pic: Focusonracing)

Meanwhile, Last year’s winner Epatante heads a field of six for the Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle on Saturday.

The 2020 Champion Hurdle heroine, trained by Nicky Henderson, comfortably took the prize by four and a quarter lengths from Sceau Royal last term.

Alan King’s nine-year-old has race fitness on his side this time, having won a Listed contest at Kempton and the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton this autumn as he seeks to reverse that form.

Evan Williams will be hoping for better luck with Silver Streak, who was taken out at the second flight by the loose Not So Sleepy in this race 12 months ago. The grey has had the advantage of a run this season, finishing second to Sceau Royal at Kempton.

Hughie Morrison gives Not So Sleepy the chance to redeem himself on the back of a run on the Flat at Doncaster five weeks ago.

“He’s going to go and have a day out at Newcastle. Hopefully, he’ll behave better this time. He hadn’t jumped a hurdle for a while, like he hasn’t this time, but he’s always been one that has a look around when he’s doing something new,” said Morrison.

“Hopefully he’ll be better this time now he knows the geography of the place a bit better.”

Monmiral had a tremendous first campaign over hurdles for trainer Paul Nicholls. The four-year-old won all his four starts, culminating in the Grade One Juvenile Hurdle at Aintree.

Nicholls accepts it is a big ask at this stage of his career but he could not be happier with him.

“He’s schooled this morning. He’s in good order. I’m looking forward to the challenge,” said the Ditcheat handler.

“It’s a step up in class for him, obviously, from what he’s been running in but he couldn’t have done more. He’s won all his completed starts.

“The form from Aintree has turned out well but it’s another step up in class for him. It is hard, that second year for four-year-olds. They don’t get any allowance over hurdles so he has to be at the top of his game and improve from last year.”

The Iain Jardine-trained Voix De Reve, fourth last year, completes the line-up. Belfast Banter was the only withdrawal at the 48-hour final declaration stage.

Newcastle officials are bracing themselves for a stormy spell of weather ahead of their big meeting. As much as 20 millimetres of rain could fall overnight on Friday and into Saturday, coupled with strengthening winds.

Clerk of the course James Armstrong described the ground as good, good to soft in places on Thursday but expects conditions to have eased come the first race at 11.45am on Saturday.

“It’s been pretty well publicised the weather has been fairly iffy on and off all week. The forecast has been changing every day but the latest forecast is we are due more rain starting tomorrow, pretty heavy through Friday night into Saturday,” said Armstrong.

“We’re looking at anything between 10 and upwards of millimetres of rain. We could get up to 20mm. It looks more likely to be wintry, slushy stuff with us but on the higher ground over the Pennines they are taking about some quite significant snow.

“Thankfully we’re close to the coast but that leaves us a bit more vulnerable to the winds, so we’ve got a few things to contend with. We’ve got the wind to worry about but I think the issue regarding wintry showers is a less of a concern, thankfully, being closer to the coast.

“We started the week with good ground on Monday and have been watering away. We put on near 20mm on the home straight this week and between five and eight on the rest of the course.

“We’re good, good to soft in places and obviously any rain that comes via nature’s assistance in the next two days will see things ease, possibly a fair bit more. It could turn to good to soft, maybe easier, depending on how it falls and when.”

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