One of the most important handicaps of the season, the Ladbrokes Trophy has an illustrious roll of honour. Won by the likes of Denman, Bobs Worth and Native River, it can throw up a Gold Cup winner in the making.
This year’s renewal looks no different, with Vinndication topping the billing. He arrives on the back of a close second in the Charlie Hall, but he finished behind The Conditional at the Festival and needs to reverse the placings.
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Ladbrokes Trophy Runners
Progressive chaser who was a Grade 3 Handicap winner last term. Behind The Conditional when fourth at the Festival subsequently, but has seemingly improved over the winter with a clear second in the Charlie Hall behind Cyrname. Cheekpieces go on and he’s an obvious player for the all-conquering Kim Bailey stable.
Beaten by a neck in the Ultima at the Festival by The Conditional, finishing a promising third on return at Wetherby over timber. Four pounds higher than his Festival mark back over fences and he’s not the most consistent, but his best form gives him an excellent place chance.
Useful handicapper last term but has taken his form to new heights in 2020. Built on a reappearance second when third in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby last month. Meets Vinndication on seven-pound better terms and is unexposed as a stayer, which gives him an obvious chance.
Ran huge in three major handicaps last season, finishing second in this race off a nine-pound lower rating. Last seen winning the Ultima at the Festival off seven pounds lower and he remains thoroughly unexposed for David Bridgewater. Faces race fit rivals, however, and his record fresh isn’t overly inspiring.
Horses to Watch
Black Op was second to Champ last season and was beaten a length in a Grade 1 at Kempton over Christmas too. He ran a fair race on return behind Imperial Aura and he looks fairly treated off this handicap rating. Copperhead has been aimed at the contest by Colin Tizzard, a runaway Grade 2 winner at Ascot in February. His reappearance over hurdles is best forgiven and he’s a course and distance winner.
Ladbrokes Trophy Tips
He didn’t quite live up to what was expected last season, but DANNY WHIZZBANG remains a smart prospect for Paul Nicholls. A Grade 2 winner at this venue on chasing debut, he suffered defeats to Slate House and Copperhead subsequently.
Making his handicap debut at Wincanton earlier this month, bursting a blood vessel explains that poor effort. After just four chasing starts, we likely haven’t seen the best of this imposing sort. A return to Newbury can help matters and this handicap mark is achievable on last year’s novice form. He should relish the test and Nicholls incredible season might be about to get even better.
Ladbrokes Trophy Stats
- The last 5 winners were rated 147 or higher
- The last 5 winners all had run that season prior to the Ladbrokes Trophy
- 4 of the last 5 winners were aged 8 or younger
- 2 of the last 5 winners were trained by Colin Tizzard
- 2 of the last 5 winners had won that season
It takes a classy sort to win the Ladbrokes Trophy and it’s not a race that goes to those at the lower end of the handicap often. A recent run has also been crucial in recent years, which is a worry for supporters of The Conditional.
Since 2008, just two horses have won the Ladbrokes Trophy at the age of nine or over. Black Op, La Bague Au Roi, Beware The Bear, Regal Encore and Ballyoptic are the older horses who bid to buck that trend in 2020.
Colin Tizzard has an outstanding recent record in the race, so Copperhead and Mister Malarky both need plenty of close attention. The former has been aimed at this contest, while the latter sports first-time cheekpieces.
Ladbrokes Trophy Winners
The 2019 renewal went the way of De Rasher Counter in a frantic finish, while Sizing Tennessee tore the field apart in 2018 for an impressive success.
Willie Mullins gave Ireland a rare victory in 2017 with Total Recall, while subsequent Gold Cup winner Native River posted a gutsy performance back in 2016. Smad Place was one of the most popular horses in training last decade and his 2015 success was extremely memorable.