Elegant Escape favourite of 23 runners for Ladbrokes Trophy - Dingo Dollar & Black Corton in good shape for £250,000 Newbury highlight
Ante-post favourite Elegant Escape headlines the 23 five-day acceptors for the £250,000 Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury (Saturday, December 1) - the highlight of day two of the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival.
Elegant Escape (trained by Colin Tizzard, 11st 7lb including a 4lb penalty) is the 5/1 favourite with Ladbrokes for this very prestigious handicap chase after his half-length victory over Thomas Patrick (Tom Lacey, 11st, 11/2) in the Listed Future Stars Intermediate Chase at Sandown Park on November 11.
Colin Tizzard, who captured the Ladbrokes Trophy in 2016 with Native River, has also left in this year's running his G2 National Hunt Chase third Sizing Tennessee (11st, 20/1) and West Approach (10st 8lb, 20/1).
Local trainers will now be represented by one entry from Barbury Castle trainer Alan King - six-year-old Dingo Dollar (11st, 12/1). King's other entry Label Des Obeaux will not run, and Emma Lavelle's two entries - Javert and Full Irish - are not going forward.
Dingo Dollar is set for his second start at Newbury this season after running well to finish fourth in the three-mile Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle on his November 8 reappearance. He is already a winner over fences at Newbury, having bolted up by 15 lengths in a limited novices' handicap chase, the St James's Place Chase, at the track in December, 2017.
Alan King, who won the Ladbrokes Trophy with Smad Place in 2015, believes Dingo Dollar is in in good form: "I have been very happy with him since he ran over hurdles at Newbury and the Ladbrokes Trophy is definitely the plan. He had a school over fences last week. He is in good order and I hope there is not too much rain at Newbury for him.
"It is a big ask for him, but he is entitled to go there. We are looking forward to the race and we'll see how he gets on." Dingo Dollar will be ridden by regular rider Wayne Hutchinson.
Paul Nicholls is looking forward to saddling Black Corton (11st 9lb, 12/1) after the seven-year-old chaser finished second, despite a bad mistake, on his reappearance in the G2 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on November 3.
Rising star jockey Bryony Frost struck up an excellent partnership with Black Corton last season and the pair combined to win the G1 Kauto Star Novices' Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day, with Elegant Escape a length and a half back in second and six other chases.
Nicholls, who has won the Ladbrokes Trophy three times as a trainer with Strong Flow (2003) and Denman (2007 & 2009), and twice as a jockey, says Black Corton is fine: "I am surprised we are such a big price compared to Elegant Escape given the close form of our race at Newbury where we gave him weight and were beaten half a length. We also beat him at Kempton."
"Black Corton ran really well in the Charlie Hall, finishing second, but he has gone up 4lb for that, which hasn't helped him. He is going to end up with plenty of weight for a second-season novice, which isn't ideal because normally with a second-season novice you would expect to have a nice, tidy weight. For such a good run in the Charlie Hall, we have shot ourselves in the foot a little bit."
"He is very versatile on the ground and doesn't mind too much. But if it is very deep, then carrying a lot of weight is not going to help. Bryony Frost will be on board."
Seven of the nine Irish-trained acceptors for the Ladbrokes Trophy are from the stable of Willie Mullins as he goes for back-to-back victories in Britain's richest handicap chase outside of the Grand National at Aintree.
And as Mullins told Newbury's Annual Members preview event (November 20), he favours Kemboy (joint top-weight 11st 12lb including 3lb penalty). He is the shortest-priced of the Irish entries at 6/1 - following his three-length victory in the G2 Clonmel Oil Chase on November 15.
Nicola McGeady, Head of PR for Ladbrokes, said: "We are very pleased with today's confirmations and another enthralling renewal looks set to take centre stage on Saturday. With rain forecast, Ms Parfois has attracted the majority of support thus far, but it is Colin Tizzard's Elegant Escape who we make the one to beat. Of course, ground can always cause concerns in the lead-up to major races so from today we are delighted to offer our punters the security of 'non-runner no-bet'."
Newbury's seven-race programme on Saturday also includes the £50,000 Listed Ladbrokes Intermediate Hurdle (2.25pm), a limited handicap over two miles.
Racing starts at 12.10pm and ends at 3.35pm, with live music after racing in the Long Shot Marquee from the popular Chip Shop Boys. Tickets for the day will be available on the gate.
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