Defending champion Total Recall, Terrefort & Thistlecrack head entries for Newbury's £250,000 Ladbrokes Trophy
The most valuable and prestigious Jump race of the season at Newbury, the £250,000 G3 Ladbrokes Trophy, has attracted 56 quality entries for its 2018 renewal which takes place over three and a quarter miles on Saturday, December 1 - day two of the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival.
Heading the betting market for the handicap chase at 8/1 with the sponsor Ladbrokes is the progressive grey chaser Terrefort (Nicky Henderson). The exciting five-year-old arrived at Seven Barrows, Lambourn late last year and has succeeded on three of his four starts in Britain so far.
Henderson, who sees Newbury as his local racecourse, has landed the Ladbrokes Trophy three times and went close with neck runner-up Whisper in 2017. He recently revealed that Terrefort is likely to start off this season at Sandown Park on November 11, with the Ladbrokes Trophy his target after that.
Britain's champion Jump trainer could also be represented in the Ladbrokes Trophy by Beware The Bear (33/1), Vyta Du Roc (16/1) and Janika (20/1).
Five-year-old Janika and nine-year-old Vyta Du Roc, along with Terrefort, are owned by Simon Munir and Isaac Souede who retain jockey Daryl Jacob.
Local Marlborough trainers have four entries. Alan King with Dingo Dollar (25/1) & Label des Obeaux (33/1)and Emma Lavelle with Full Irish and Javert (both 25/1).
Willoughby Court (Ben Pauling, 16/1) was an impressive winner at the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival in 2017, when he upset the odds-on Yanworth to land the G2 Ladbrokes Novices' Chase over two and a half miles.
The seven-year-old, owned by Paul and Clare Rooney, was restricted to just one further outing last season, but trainer Ben Pauling is eagerly-anticipating Willoughby Court's return to action, with the Ladbrokes Trophy the possible target: "Willoughby Court is in good form at home and we are really happy with him. We have entered him in the Ladbrokes Trophy and it is certainly something we are considering."
"He had a small wind operation as there was something not slightly right when he was third at Cheltenham on his last run. He obviously missed the Cheltenham Festival with a foot problem, but he is over that and is in good order."
Ireland's champion Jump trainer Willie Mullins saddled Total Recall (16/1) to success in the 2017 running of the famous three and a quarter mile handicap chase. Total Recall was the first Irish-trained success of the Newbury race since Bright Highway in 1980.
Total Recall is one of eight entries for Mullins in 2018. Four other Irish trained horses are entered - including the favoured Snow falcon (Neil Meade 14/1).
The likely top-weight for the 2018 Ladbrokes Trophy is Thistlecrack (Colin Tizzard, 16/1), who landed the two biggest victories of his career in the 2016 G1 Stayers' Hurdle and the 2016 G1 King George VI Chase.
He has not been since finishing third in the 2017 King George VI Chase at Kempton Park over Christmas, but is due to reappear at Wetherby this Saturday.
Nicola McGeady is Head of PR for Ladbrokes: "It is great to see another quality list of entries from both the UK and Ireland for the second running of the Ladbrokes Trophy."
"It is no surprise to see Nicky Henderson's Terrefort as the 8/1 favourite, with this race the target for the progressive five-year-old. Also among the front runners, we have Kerry National winner Snow Falcon from the yard of Noel Meade while it is great to see Thistlecrack entered too."
"Last year's race was a fantastic battle between Total Recall and Whisper with the former becoming the first Irish-trained winner since 1980. This year's entries look sure to provide us with another enthralling renewal of the Ladbrokes Trophy."
Weights will be revealed on November 7. The race has a maximum field of 24.