Horses to follow: Six that caught the eye in defeat at the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival

By Harry Allwood@H_Allwood1
Tue 1 Dec 2020

Harry Allwood selects six horses who are worth adding to your Racing TV Tracker following their efforts at the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival at Newbury.


Race: Third in the Get Your Ladbrokes £1 Free Bet Today Handicap Chase (2.25, Friday)

Having run with promise in defeat last season, Sully D’Oc AA showed improved form when successful on his seasonal debut at Ascot following a wind operation and backed that effort up with a career best off a 10lb higher mark here.

The former French recruit still had a slight lead when jumping the last ahead of eventual winner, Clondaw Castle, before slipping on landing and lost all momentum.

It is hard to say if he would have won, but he would have certainly finished second at least and the handicapper agrees as he has been raised 2lb to a rating of 137.

This looked a useful handicap chase on paper as the winner finished runner-up in the Old Roan on his previous start, and there were a number of other useful handicap chasers in behind, including Oldgrangewood and Fidux.

Sully D’Oc AA had jumped well up until the final fence, and you can’t really blame him for the mishap. He is clearly on an upward curve and is one to follow in similar races this season.


Race: Second in the Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle (3.00, Friday)

The 2019 Stayers’ Hurdle winner returned with questions to answer having run below-par due to an irregular heartbeat when trying to defend his crown in March but proved any doubters wrong when finding only Thyme Hill too good in the Long Distance Hurdle.

The race turned into a sprint, which would not have suited Paisley Park, and you would imagine connections left plenty to work on.

Emma Lavelle’s stable star was also carrying a penalty and, although he has won on good ground, he probably found conditions quick enough therefore was unable to reel in the winner.

He is sure to be seen to better effect with more give underfoot and The Marsh Hurdle, also known as the Long Walk Hurdle, at Ascot on December 19 has been pinpointed as his next target.

Admittedly, Thyme Hill is progressive and proved he is among the leading staying hurdlers with this victory. The pair are a best-priced 11-2 for the feature on day three at the Cheltenham Festival next year and they could meet again at Ascot before heading to Prestbury Park.


Race: Second in the Play Ladbrokes 5-A-Side On Football Mares' Novices' Hurdle (12.10, Saturday)

This was a hugely encouraging run from Ahorsewithnoname who returned from a 439-day absence to finish second behind the improving Pink Sheets.

She raced exuberantly throughout the race before appearing to hit a flat spot up the home straight after a mistake at the third last but found her second wind and stayed on strongly to snatch second.

A bumper and dual winner on the flat when trained by Brian Ellison, she remains lightly-raced and must be held in pretty high regard by Nicky Henderson to be pitched into a Listed contest on her hurdling debut.

She is of course entitled to strip much fitter for this run and the future looks bright for this five-year-old.


Race: Second in the Ladbrokes John Francome Novices' Chase (12.40, Saturday)

One For The Team unseated his rider on his chasing debut in November but produced a good round of jumping here and found only dual Grade One-winning hurdler Next Destination too good.

The six-year-old was a useful hurdler and remains on a rating of 140 following this effort. Connections have always believed their six-year-old will develop into a better chaser in time and was said to “still have a lot of growing to do” last season.

I think he is one to keep in mind for handicaps this season and he shapes like he has plenty of stamina.

He is yet to run at Cheltenham, but it would be no surprise if connections aim him at the Ultima, a race Williams won in 2018 with Coo Star Sivola, this season and there’s plenty more to come from him.


Race: Third in the Ladbrokes Committed To Safer Gambling Intermediate Hurdle (2.25, Saturday)

It is fair to say Milkwood was an unlucky loser in this Listed contest as he was travelling well when hampered by Harry Cobden, who was unseated from Thyme White at the second last and continued to suffer interference from the loose horse after the hurdle.

Neil Mulholland’s charge did well to finish two lengths behind the winner in the circumstances and although the race fell apart slightly and a couple of the leading protagonists disappointed, it still looks decent form for the grade.

Milkwod has took his form to a new level this season having won an Intermediate Hurdle in good style on his return before finishing a creditable fifth in the Welsh Champion Hurdle on his next outing.

He has been raised a 1lb to 142 following this run, and he ought to be capable of going close in handicaps off that rating.


Race: Third in the Ladbrokes Trophy (3.00, Saturday)

The Conditional lacked a recent run ahead of the Ladbrokes Trophy this season, but still managed to be placed behind two race-fit rivals and looks the one to take out of the race.

The Ultima winner jumped well and travelled nicely into the race before the lack of race fitness took its toll. David Bridgewater had also said that his stable star had suffered a slight setback a few weeks ago.

It remains to be seen whether connections will aim him at the Grand National, which he is a best-priced 33-1 for next year, but he should remain competitive in staying chases this season and the fact he has been dropped a pound for this run is a bonus.

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