This weekend sees the Ladbrokes Trophy, a Grade 3 handicap run over 3m 1f at Newbury. The ground is currently good-to-soft but there’s more rain forecast. This is a race every jumps fan looks forward to and this year will certainly be no different. It may not offer as big a field as we would like but it’s should still be a very intriguing contest.
Elegant Escape heads the betting at time of writing and is undoubtedly a big player here. He came third in this year’s RSA chase at Cheltenham and followed that up at Aintree with another decent performance. A very talented chaser who relishes soft ground, he should be cherry ripe to put in a career best here.
Thomas Patrick is sharing favouritism at the moment and could move up to outright favourite by the time they run. He’ll be looking to build on his Aintree win in April, but experience might just be against him here with a hectic pace ensured and no room for error.
Ms Parfois is a horse I’ve always had time for. An excellent jumper, she also has some very solid form to her name and is a likely contender. Only once has she finished outside the top two in her chasing career. She’s another one that will be hoping the rain keeps coming in order to find her best running and if connections have her fit enough, I think she will go very close. She will be my saver bet on the day.
Dingo Dollar and American are others for the shortlist. Dingo Dollar is already attracting strong market support and it doesn’t come as a surprise when you watch his video reel. A talented 6-year-old, he could have done with a little more experience but has had a lovely prep over hurdles so will be expected to be in the mix.
American is somewhat of a conundrum. Although a very talented novice chaser, he struggled here last year when well-fancied. The softer the ground the better for him and if he clicks on the day, he could make a mockery of his handicap mark…but that is a big if.
Nevertheless, with that all said, I still find myself drawn to Black Corton. I know, I know I should just start a fan club for the horse at this stage, but I just can’t help myself. I really believe there’s a big prize in him and Paul Nicholls has made no secret that he feels the same.
Black Corton has beaten some of the market principles already and his trainer has stated that this was his target despite tackling the Charlie Hall and getting a few more pounds for that race. That was an excellent run and it has hopefully left him spot on for a big effort.
If he cleans up his jumping a little he can rattle the market leaders at a decent price. Currently 12/1, It could look like a gift come Saturday evening.