Andy Stephens struck with Dans le Vent, advised at 25-1, last Saturday and likes contenders chalked up at 40-1 and 33-1 for the big race at Newbury.
The Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury is always one of the most competitive races of the season and Saturday’s renewal sees four horses vying for favouritism.
Of those at the head of the market, I could not put you off supporting either Eklat De Rire or Enrilo, as both are progressive second-season chasers who tick plenty of boxes. But Ontheropes is no 4-1 chance on form, for all that Willie Mullins has been positive about him, while I’ve got doubts about the stamina of Fiddlerontheroof for the rejuvenated Tizzard team.
Between them, the quartet have about a 65 per cent chance of winning according to the bookmakers, and as a consequence you can back runners in with more than half a chance at chunky odds. And with all firms offering extra places for each-way punters – Sky Bet and William Hill are paying out on the first seven home – I’m happy to overlook the shortest-priced contenders and play each-way on two outsiders in Cloudy Glen, available at a 40-1, and The Hollow Ginge, who is a best-priced 33-1.
Cloudy Glen has been absent since running poorly at Aintree in April and has not always rolled up his sleeves at the business end of his races, reflected by the fact that during his career he’s already been beaten eight times after trading at about Evens or shorter in-running.
But he goes well fresh – he bolted up on his return last term – and somehow he’s able to race off the same mark as when beating all bar handicap snip Mount Ida in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham in March. He would have given the winner even more to think about but for a mid-race blunder.
He’s had a wind op since we last saw him in action and he is a horse who seems to enjoy being covered up in big fields where there is an end-to-end gallop. The eight-year-old will need the rub of the green given the way he is invited to weave through runners, but we know he stays well and the stable is in fine form with Venetia Williams’ two winners at Ascot last Saturday both making their seasonal reappearances.
She also almost struck with a 50-1 chance returning from 13 months off at Lingfield this week, plus Fanion D'estruval was an emphatic winner for her and Charlie Deutsch at Newbury on Friday.
The Hollow Ginge has something of a patchy profile but he’s 2lb lower than when keeping on to be fourth in last year’s renewal, and he looked on really good terms with himself when beaten a head by Definite Plan at Cheltenham last month, when Cloth Cap (winner of the Ladbrokes Trophy last year) and Jersey Bean (a subsequent winner at Haydock) were among those well adrift.
Nigel Twiston-Davies’s eight-year-old coasted to the front three out at Cheltenham and still looked sure to win at the final fence but, with the benefit of hindsight, he almost certainly hit the front too early and just got a bit idle up the hill. If he’s in the same kind of mood, then a big run is on the cards, and I imagine Sam Twiston-Davies will try and hold on to him for longer.
Philip Hobbs is without a runner in the big race but he has two aces in the earlier supporting races in the shape of Kalooki (1.15) and Masters Legacy (1.50), who are both chalked up at 6-1.
Kalooki is a striking grey who fills the eye and, given the stable’s travails last season, he had a pretty good time of it – winning in fine style on his return at Newbury over this trip before running some solid races in graded company and then narrowly failing to win again on his handicap bow back at the Berkshire track in late March.
He’s able to run off the same mark and, regardless of the fact his stable is in much better heart, looks just the type to improve again this term.
Masters Legacy was having only his sixth start when showing a good attitude to win over 2m on his return at Chepstow. He got the job done despite the trip looking on the sharp side, and the extra half-mile on Saturday seems sure to suit.
There’s definitely more to come from him, and a 2lb rise for his comeback success leaves him on a lenient-looking mark.
My other fancy on the Newbury card is Sao, a best-priced 14-1 for the Watch Racing Free Online At Ladbrokes Handicap Chase at 3.35.
A searching gallop looks on the cards as several in the field like to bowl along at the head of affairs and that will be ideal for Rebecca Menzies’ seven-year-old, an exuberant type who generally always gives the arms of regular rider Nathan Moscrop a good workout.
Sao was far too keen on his return at Aintree but, to his credit, stuck willingly to his task and beat all bar Darling Du Large, who has since completed a hat-trick of wins.
Hopefully, that run will have knocked some of the freshness out of Sao and, if he settles a bit better, I can see him pouncing in the closing stages and replicating the fluent win he achieved at Newbury last season.
I also had a good look at the Betfair Exchange Rehearsal Handicap Chase at Newcastle, and was interested in Glen Forsa and Spiritofthegames, a pair who have both tumbled in the weights. But heavy snow showers are forecast overnight and, with the going anyone’s guess, I’m going to sit it out.
How To Bet £20 on Ladbrokes Trophy Day at Newbury:
1.15: £3 win on Kalooki at 6-1 with bet365 and William Hill
1.50: £3 win on Masters Legacy at a general 6-1
3.00: £2.50 each-way on Cloudy Glen each-way at 33-1 with Sky Bet and William Hill (both firms are offering seven places)
3.00: £2 each-way on The Hollow Ginge each-way at 25-1 with William Hill (seven places)
3.35: Sao £2 win and £1.50 each-way at 12-1 with Sky Bet (five places)
65p Each-Way Lucky 15 and 25p each-way fourfold
1.50: Masters Legacy
3.00: Cloudy Glen
3.35: SaoSimply sign up and deposit (minimum £15) with one of our 15 betting partners, complete the form and we'll send out you the all new Racing TV Christmas Jumper for free.
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