It’s a fantastic edition of the Ladbrokes Trophy, made more so by the fact that there are plenty I can see going well.
The one that appeals most at the prices is Cogry, who can give Nigel Twiston-Davies his third big race Saturday success in a row. There has been a lot of chat in the lead up to this race about how Singlefarmpayment has exactly the right profile to win this and in many respects that’s true, but Cogry thumped him good and proper at Cheltenham last time, with a combination of smooth travelling, slick jumping and strong staying. I simply don’t believe that he should be over twice the price, even accounting for his being worse off at the weights.
Whilst I’ll be backing Cogry each-way, I’ll also be having a small win bet on Coneygree. He is simply too much of a class act to allow double figure odds against horses who would have been so far his inferior two years ago – even on the flimsy evidence of last season’s two runs. I’m always mindful to forgive a horse for one poor run and Wetherby looked so unusual that I’d be fairly confident of better.
There are two very competitive handicap hurdles on the card. The first of those over two-and-a-half-miles can go the way of Dino Velvet who didn’t quite live up to his Trainer’s expectations last year, but looked as though he was an improved performer on his fifth at Chepstow on his comeback run.
He looked as though he might be in need of the run, given the way he ran and the test at this track should suit him well on the basis of what we’ve seen so far. He’s a big price and wants backing each way.
The same comments apply in the 2.25, to Master Of Irony, whose Trainer does not venture to the big southern tracks unless his horse has a serious chance. This horse was a smooth winner of quite a tidy little race at Wetherby back in October and with Davy Russell on board he could well benefit from a race that develops too early in front of him.
He gets the guts of a stone from the three principles here and unless Charli Parcs is the Champion Hurdler in waiting that some of those close to him believe, I’m not sure the selection is a stone worse than those who dominate the market.
On a day when I’ll be backing plenty of good prices, I’ll continue that theme with a horse in the final race, again ridden by Davy Russell. This time Duke of Navan, who ran really well at Aintree last time given how little racing he’s had in the last couple of years.
He’s a very low mileage nine-year-old, all his best form comes on a flat left handed track and it’s a positive jockey switch – I hope he’s ridden a bit more patiently than at Aintree last time.
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.