Ladbrokes Trophy: showtime for 69-strong syndicate hoping to see Cabaret Queen crowned for a day
A poet, a postman and a professional golfer are among the 69 owners of the Willie Mullins trained Cabaret Queen, who are dreaming of winning one of the most sought after prizes in jumps racing - the £250,000 Ladbrokes Trophy, run at Newbury on Saturday, November 30.
The 69 owners have earned an unexpected shot at the big time through their involvement in Syndicates Racing which bought Cabaret Queen for £13,000. She has already delivered a runaway success in the Ladbrokes Munster National to become the sponsor’s 8-1 joint favourite with Mister Malarky, trained by two-time winner Colin Tizzard.
Cabaret Queen is among nine horses, which include former winner Total Recall, trained by Ireland’s champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins, in another high quality entry for the 3m2f handicap chase, the feature event of the two day Ladbrokes Winter Carnival at Newbury.
Mullins, who captured the race for the first time in 2017, has also entered Cheltenham Festival winners Rathvinden, winner of the 2018 National Hunt Chase and this year’s Grand National third, and Yorkhill, who won the JLT Novices Chase in 2017 and Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle in 2016.
While Mullins has the biggest entry, there is strong interest from the stables of Nicky Henderson and Dan Skelton, who have six horses each, Tizzard, five, Paul Nicholls, four, and Gordon Elliott, two.
Tizzard, who has won the race in two of the last three seasons and saddled the one-two in 2018, has included last year’s runner-up and Coral Welsh National winner Elegant Escape in his team. But he has nominated previous course winner Mister Malarky, one of last season’s leading staying novice chasers, as his prime candidate.
The J P McManus-owned Ok Corral and Beware The Bear, winner of the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham this year, head the Henderson team while Nicholls’s top rated entry is Yala Enki, who is new to the yard this season.
Cabaret Queen announced herself a live challenger when coasting to an easy victory in the Ladbrokes Munster National on only her second start since joining the Mullins stable, earning her the chance to become only the second mare to win the Ladbrokes Trophy, 60 years after Kerstin’s victory in 1959.
Syndicates Racing is run by 28-year-old London-based solicitor Jack Cantillon: “After the Munster National win, the Ladbrokes Trophy was mentioned. The minute you talk about that race you have memories of Denman, Strong Flow, Native River, all these wonderful horses."
“So to have a horse that you are connected with that has the ability to run in the race is an almost preposterous thought given we bought her for £13,000 in May. She has only run twice but already we are on an incredible journey to be able to run at such a wonderful course like Newbury in such a terrific race like the Ladbrokes Trophy.
Cantillon bought the seven-year-old mare in February as much for her pedigree as her ability and has leased her to the syndicate members, many of them first-time owners who have between one and ten per cent stakes: “I thought there was potential there and the talent of Willie Mullins knows no bounds.”
“To win a Munster National by 13 lengths certainly was not remotely on our radar in terms of even the outer reaches of what we thought she might achieve."
“We have 69 people in the group...It’s a cross-section of society. They are so excited to say they have a runner in such a wonderful race. Fingers-crossed she comes through her preparation okay and we have a wonderful day out at Newbury.”
Cabaret Queen had a handicap rating of 122 when she raced in Britain last season but was raised 16lb to 142 when reassessed by the Irish handicapper for her latest win.
Sixty-three horses have been entered for the race. The weights for the Ladbrokes Trophy will be published on November 6.
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 third running of the Ladbrokes Trophy."
"It is no surprise to see Willie Mullins’ Cabaret Queen at the head of the market following her impressive performance in the Ladbrokes Munster National. Also among the front-runners, we have Colin Tizzard’s Mister Malarky and Albert Bartlett runner-up Ok Corral."
COMPETITION: you can still enter the marlboroughequestrian.news competition to win one of five pairs of free tickets for Newbury's Ladbrokes Trophy day - part of the Ladbrokes Winter carnival. Details here.