Run at Newbury racecourse over 3m 2 1/2f the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase is handicap race this gives National Hunt fans the chance to see some of the best longer distance chasers pit their wits against horses of varied abilities.
Here at SUREWIN, we look back at recent winners and gives you the main stats to look out for ahead of the 2021 renewal – this year run on Saturday 27th November.
Did you know - 17 of the last 19 Ladbrokes Trophy Chase winners were aged 8 or younger?
2020 - CLOTH CAP (9/1)
2019 – DE RASHER COUNTER (12/1)
2018 – SIZING TENNESSEE (12/1)
2017 – TOTAL RECALL (9/2 fav)
2016 – NATIVE RIVER (7/2 fav)
2015 – SMAD PLACE (7/1)
2014 – MANY CLOUDS (8/1)
2013 – TRIOLO D’ALENE (20/1)
2012 – BOBS WORTH (4/1 fav)
2011 – CARRUTHERS (10/1)
2010 – DIAMOND HARRY (6/1)
2009 – DENMAN (11/4 fav)
2008 – MADISON du BERLAIS (25/1)
2007 – DENMAN (5/1)
2006 – STATE OF PLAY (10/1)
2005 – TRABOLGAN (13/2)
2004 – CELESTIAL GOLD (9/4 fav)
2003 – STRONG FLOW (5/1 jfav)
2002 - GINGEMBRE (16/1)
17/19 – Aged 8 or younger
17/19 – Had won between 2-5 previous races over fences
17/19 – Had won a chase race over at least 3m before
16/19 - Returned 12/1 or shorter in the betting
14/19 – Finished in the first 3 last time out
13/19 – Carried 10-13 or more
13/19 – Had run at Newbury before (9 had won over fences there)
13/19 – Winning distance – 2 ½ lengths or more
13/19 – Had a previous run that season
12/19 – Aged either 6 or 7 years-old
12/19 – Had won a Grade 3 or better class chase race before
12/19 – Rated between 140 and 151
11/19 – Won by an Irish-bred horse
11/19 – Unplaced favourites
10/19 – Won last time out
9/19 – Ran at either Aintree (2) or Cheltenham (7) last time out
6/19 – Winning favourites (1 joint)
3/19 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
3/19 – Trained by Nicky Henderson (2 of last 9)
2/19 – Trained by the Pipe stable
2/19 – Trained by Colin Tizzard (2 of the last 5)
The average winning SP in the last 19 years is 9/1
11 of the last 16 winners carried 11st 1lb or more
Since 1968 there has only been one winner aged in double-figures (1981 Diamond Edge, 10)
Since 1990 (30 runnings) there have been 14 winners (47%) aged 7 years-old
Plenty of big jumping races to look forward to this month and another of the highlights is the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase - staged a Newbury and this year run on Saturday 27th November.
For those older racing fans, that are still getting used to the newish race title of this 3m2f Newbury handicap, then in ‘old money’ this was the Hennessy Gold Cup.
The race is always one of the early season handicap highlights as National Hunt fans get the chance to see some of the best longer distance chasers pit their wits against horses of varied abilities and over the years we’ve seen some jumping greats land the prize.
In recent times, we’ve witnessed the mighty Denman power to victory twice (2007 and 2009), while former Grand National hero, Many Clouds, plus Cheltenham Gold Cup winners, Bobs Worth and Native River, are other big names on the ‘hall-of-fame’ since the turn of the century.
Twelve months ago, in 2020, it was the turn of trainer Jonjo O’Neill to get on the scoresheet in a race that also eluded him as a jockey, when this Cloth Cap powered to an easy 10 length victory. He could be back for more in 2021 too and if successful would become the first ‘back-to-back’ winner of the race since Arkle took the honours in 1964 and 1965!
The good news is that there are many other key trends to take into the race – let’s take a look.
Age – Last year’s winner - Cloth Cap - was an 8 year-old and this is a good age cut off point. In recent times we’ve seen a massive 17 of the last 19 winners aged 8 or younger, while 12 of the last 19 winners were aged 6 or 7. We had a 10 year-old winner – Sizing Tennessee – win in 2018, but he was the first double-figure aged winner since 1981 - while since 1961, the race has only produced four winners aged 10 or older! In short, it’s best to focus on the runners aged 6, 7 or 8.
Recent Form – With 10 of the last 19 winners having won their last race this is a fairly decent trend to have on side, while this can be taken a bit further with 14 of the last 19 (74%) of recent winners finishing in the top three in their last outing - backed up again last year with Cloth Cap having run third at the Cheltenham October Meeting before heading to Newbury. Horses that have had the benefit of a recent run that season have also fared best – 13 of the last 19 winners fitted that stat and another tick for last year’s winner. Also note horses that ran at Aintree or Cheltenham last time out - 9 of the last 19 winners - took this route before taking this prize.
Previous Wins – The main stat to note here is that 17 of the last 19 winners had won between 2 and 5 times over fences before. This suggests we are looking for horses with a certain degree of experience but are not fully exposed to the handicapper. Cloth Cap was having only his nineth run over fences and prior to winning this race had landed just two races over the bigger obstacles.
Betting Guide and Market Leaders – Considering we normally get a big field; the favourites don’t fare too badly. In the last 19 runnings, we’ve seen 6 winning market leaders (32%), but it’s worth pointing out we’ve also had 11 unplaced jollies in that same period. This indicates the favourites tend to win or flop! With 16 of the last 19 winners returning 12/1 or shorter and the average winning SP in that period 9/1, then it’s a race that doesn’t produce too many shock big-priced winners. Since 2002, we’ve seen just Madison du Berlais (25/1) and Triolo D’Arlene (20/1) as the biggest-priced victors.
Weight – Being a handicap race, then weight carried, and a horses current rating are certainly worth taking into account. 12 of the last 19 winners were officially rated between 140 and 151. With 13 of the last 19 winners (68%) carrying 10st 13lbs or more in weight then around this point looks to be the best weight cut-off point. Last year’s winner only had 10st to carry and having bolted up by 10 lengths was clearly ahead of the handicapper at the time - he was raised a massive 12lbs after. But it’s also worth noting that classier horses in the race are more than capable of giving the weight away in this contest - since 2005 (16 renewals), with seen 11 winners carry 11st 1lbs or more.
Course Form – Newbury is classed as one of the more premier tracks and even though its fences take some jumping it’s a fairly flat course. That said, having experience of the Berkshire venue seems to have helped past winners as 13 of the last 19 winners of this race had run at Newbury in the past, with 9 of those winning there over fences too!
Top Trainers – Since 2016, the Colin Tizzard yard have won this race twice, while the powerful Nicky Henderson team have two wins in the last nine runnings and three victories in total. With Willie Mullins sending over Total Recall to win in 2017 and Paul Nicholls, who actually rode the winner of this race in 1986 and 1987, having three Ladbrokes Trophy Chases to his name – then the cream often rises to the top with regards to the trainers. Other notably stables that have taken the race in recent times are Alan King, David Pipe and Oliver Sherwood, while - as mentioned - Jonjo O’Neill - grabbed his first winner in the race 12 months ago. Anything any of these mentioned handlers should be high up on your shortlists.
At the time of writing, it’s obviously hard to call who’ll be heading to the race, but names like Enrilo and Next Destination (both Paul Nicholls), plus Fiddlerontheroof and The Big Breakaway (both Tizzard) could be leading players, while even though he’ll have a lot more weight on his back this year - if turning out again - the current champ, Cloth Cap, has to enter calculations.
SUREWIN VERDICT: Cloth Cap took the honours 12 months ago and is back for more this year - he’ll be looking to be the first back-to-back winner of the race since the mighty Arkle (1964/65). He’s reported to be in fine fettle but last year he only had 10st to carry and this time has 11-8 and is rated 18lbs higher. There’s a decent Irish presence this year too with De Bromhead sending over Eklat De Rire, who has won three of his last four and looks a big player. The concern with him would be if the ground will be softer enough for him - all his best runs have been on heavy. Willie Mullins has three too - he won this race in 2017 too. He’s got the topweight - Brahma Bull, plus Annamix and Ontheropes. All three have big chances, with the last two named also having claiming jockeys on to help. The Tizzard camp have won this race twice in the last five years and are mob-handed again with Mister Malarky, Copperhead (pulled up in the race last season) and FIDDLERONTHEROOF - of that trio, the last-named looks the most reliable. This 7 year-old is yet to finish out of the first three from his 8 runs over fences and returned to action with a top win at Carlisle last time month. He’s only 2lbs higher and is well worth another try upped in trip. Kitty’s Light, who was runner-up in the Charlie Hall Chase this season, is a useful stayer in the making, but I’m pretty sure no 5 year-old has won this race, although I’m not certain many have tried. Enrillo has been popular for the Nicholls yard this week too - he’s a course that was sent off favourite (3rd) for the Bet365 Gold Cup last April. I’d just be worried that he’s only had five runs over fences, for a race as competitive as this. Remastered and Brave Eagle have to be noted too, but the other picks are POTTERMAN (e/w). This Alan King runner returned to be a good second in the Badger Beer Handicap Chase last time out. He gets in here off the same mark and was staying on well that day to suggest this longer trip will suit - the King yard also took this in 2015.