Promise of a great day's racing at Newbury to keep the cold at bay
Race goers will be dusting off their best tweeds for a chilly day at Newbury on Saturday for one of the hottest tickets of the year.
It’s the Ladbrokes Trophy day (formerly Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup) - one of the most popular in the Newbury racing calendar.
Cloth Cap will attempt to complete back-to-back victories in the £250,000 Ladbrokes Trophy under Tom Scudamore after the jockey opted to stay loyal to the Jonjo O’Neill-trained runner at Newbury on Saturday.
Scudamore joined Willie Robinson as the most successful rider in the history of the big race when he recorded his third victory in 2020, following wins on Madison Du Berlais (2008) and Sizing Tennessee (2018). He could have ridden the David Pipe-trained Remastered but has stuck with Cloth Cap, who gave the late Trevor Hemmings his third triumph in the 3m2f handicap chase.
Conditional jockey Fergus Gillard rides Remastered, whose owners Garth and Anne Broom won the race with Native River in 2016.
Cloth Cap features among a field of 21 who will line up for the showpiece race of the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival. Willie Mullins has declared three horses, the sponsor’s joint favourite Ontheropes, Brahma Bull, who will carry top weight of 11st 12lb, and Annamix. Rachael Blackmore will have her first ride in the race on Eklat De Rire, the other joint favourite, for trainer Henry de Bromhead who will bid to add the Ladbrokes Trophy to an extraordinary 2021 haul that already includes wins in the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase, Cheltenham Gold Cup and Grand National.
Potterman, Kitty’s Light and Enrilo, the one-two-three from the bet365 Gold Cup, and Fiddlerontheroof, one of three representing the stable of Colin Tizzard, successful twice in the last five years, have also been declared..
Scudamore said: “The ground was the deciding factor. David and I had a conversation about it a couple of days ago. I’ve come down on Cloth Cap and we’ll see if I’m right on Saturday.”
A year ago Cloth Cap made all the running to win the Ladbrokes Trophy by ten lengths, carrying 10st. He finished fourth on his first run since the Grand National, in which he was pulled up, at Cheltenham last month, and now carries 11st 8lb.
“I was pleased with his run at Cheltenham,” said Scudamore. “He has to improve for it, but there is no reason why not. It was his first run back off the wind op and he ran very pleasingly. It was only from the second last that we got run out of it. The conditions should suit him better on Saturday. I was having a great ride off him in the Grand National until he started making a noise and then the wheels came off very quickly. Hopefully that’s been rectified.
“It’s going to be a lot harder off an 18lb higher mark but the way he went and won it last year you would be hard pressed to say he wouldn’t have won it with another 18lb on his back. Having said that, this year we have some Irish horses coming over that look pretty unexposed and you have to give them the utmost respect.”
The Ladbrokes Trophy is the focal point of a seven race card at Newbury where the going is good to soft (good in places).