Day two of Newbury’s Winter Carnival, featuring the historic Ladbrokes Trophy, along with Newcastle’s Fighting Fifth meeting and a multiple Grade 1 fixture at Fairyhouse on Sunday, makes for an exciting weekend of national hunt action.
We will provide Horse Racing tips, previews and predictions for the final two races at the Berkshire track, the £200,000 Ladbrokes Trophy Chase, and at 3.35pm, the Watch Racing Free Online At Ladbrokes Handicap Chase (For The Jim Joel Memorial Trophy).
At Gosforth Park (Newcastle) in the north-east, we will supply a Horse Racing tip for the competitive 10-runner Betfair Exchange Rehearsal Handicap Chase at 3.15pm.
Our Tip for the 3.00pm at Newbury:
With top weight Ballyoptic on a rating of 162, this year’s renewal of the Ladbrokes Trophy may lack the class of some previous years (Denman was rated 182 when finishing third in 2010). But what the race lacks in potential Cheltenham Gold Cup participants, the 3m 2f contest makes up for in it’s competitiveness.
All 18 runners are in the handicap proper and, with the exception of a handful of contenders, it would be no surprise to see any one of a dozen or so horses come home in front. Last year’s runner-up The Conditional, Vinndication, second to the mighty Cyrname at Wetherby on his reappearance, and last season’s talented staying novice chaser Black Op have to be towards the top of anyone’s final list.
It is the horse right at the bottom of the weights who makes most appeal however, the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Cloth Cap. For the first time in over a year the 12/1 chance with Paddy Power has his optimum conditions, namely, a thorough test of stamina on decent ground.
A highly creditable third in last year’s Scottish Grand National, on just his fourth start over fences, the mount of Tom Scudamore races off a mark only 2lb higher, and with the featherweight of 10st to carry looks guaranteed to run a massive race.
Our Tip for the 3.15pm at Newcastle:
The star on show at the north-east track is undoubtedly reigning Champion Hurdler Epatante, in the featured Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle over an hour earlier. The mares’ jockey, Aidan Coleman, looks to have a great chance of making it a memorable day, by following up in the day’s finale with the Olly Murphy-trained The Butcher Said.
The seven-year-old is two from four over fences and, despite being outclassed when attempting to concede 8lb to the exciting The Big Breakaway at Cheltenham last time, came out with plenty of credit in finishing a fine third.
Off a mark of 139, the son of Robin Des Champs makes plenty of appeal, with the dangers likely to come in the shape of Nicky Henderson’s Pym and the lightly-weighted Cool Mix.
Our Tip for the 3.35pm at Newbury:
Jockey Tom Scudamore is taken to end the day on a high, should his Ladbrokes Trophy mount (Cloth Cap) prevail, as the rider attached to the David Pipe stable, has come in for another cracking spare ride, this time aboard the Nick Williams-trained top weight Moonlighter.
The Midnight Legend gelding pushed leading two mile chaser Greaneteen to the limit in Exeter’s Haldon Gold Cup on his reappearance earlier this month. A 5lb higher mark may have underestimated the progress made by the seven-year-old since last season.
The 11/4 chance with Unibet could take plenty of pegging back if allowed to dictate the race from the front. The big danger has to be Ibleo, from the in-form Venetia Williams stable, who just lost out to Amoola Gold on his reappearance at Ascot.
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