Ladbrokes Trophy: Timeform's runner-by-runner guide

Horses jumping a fence at Newbury
The Ladbrokes Trophy takes place at Newbury on Saturday

Timeform bring you their comprehensive runner-by-runner guide to Saturday's Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury and pick out their 1-2-3.

"...Useful hurdler who is already better over fences..."

Timeform on Aye Right

Ladbrokes Trophy
Newbury, Saturday 15:00
Live on ITV Racing

1. Ballyoptic (Nigel Twiston-Davies/ Mr Zac Baker (3))
Did very well last season, winning a handicap at Chepstow, the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby and a listed handicap at Ascot. Wasn't on a going day when pulled up trying to win the Charlie Hall again on his reappearance last month and has it all to do back in a handicap off a career-high mark.

2. Vinndication (Kim Bailey/ David Bass)
Lightly-raced but high-class chaser. Won the Sodexo Gold Cup at Ascot on his return last term and ran a cracker off top weight when fourth behind The Conditional and Kildisart in the Ultima at Cheltenham on his only other start last season. Posted another good effort on form when beaten two lengths by comfortable winner Cyrname in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby on his reappearance, despite failing to impress with his jumping. Capable of going close for an in-form yard if he's slicker in that department here.

3. Secret Investor (Paul Nicholls/ Harry Cobden)
Ended his first season over fences by winning the Future Champion Novices' Chase at Ayr and he chased home Native River in the Denman Chase over this course and distance on his final start last season. Had a breathing op before producing a career-best effort to win a handicap at Chepstow on his return last month, making all to beat Potterman by seven lengths. Still looks on a good mark despite being 6 lb higher.

4. Beware The Bear (Nicky Henderson/ Jeremiah McGrath)
2019 Ultima winner who has finished fourth on his reappearance in the last two renewals of this, staying on to beaten around two lengths behind De Rasher Counter last season. Finished down the field in a handicap over hurdles at Cheltenham on his only other start last term. Races off the same mark as when fourth last year, but is no easy ride and looks vulnerable to less exposed types.

5. Kildisart (Ben Pauling/ Nico de Boinville)
Won three times in his novice season, including a Grade 3 handicap at Aintree. Drew a blank last term but ran his best race in first-time cheekpieces/under a more positive ride when beaten a neck by The Conditional in the Ultima at Cheltenham. Warmed up for this over hurdles when third in a Grade 2 at Wetherby last month and still hasn't had that much racing over this sort of trip, though a career-best effort is required off this mark.

6. Copperhead (Colin Tizzard/ Robbie Power)
Looked a progressive novice for much of last season, his three wins including a handicap over course and distance and the Reynoldstown Novices' Chase in very testing conditions at Ascot from Two For Gold and Danny Whizzbang. Was disappointing in the RSA at Cheltenham, already tailed off when falling at the last, and there wasn't much encouragement on his recent return over hurdles at Wetherby. There are reasons to expect a better showing back over fences, but he needs to put his last couple of efforts well behind him.

7. Regal Encore (Anthony Honeyball/ Richie McLernon)
Underlined his reputation as an Ascot specialist with a fourth course win in the Sodexo Gold Cup on his return last month after a wind op, always prominent and beating Whatmore by a length and a quarter. Has twice been pulled up from three tries in this race in the past, though he did finish third at 66/1 on the other occasion in 2017.

8. Aye Right (Harriet Graham/ Callum Bewley)
Useful hurdler who is already better over fences. Won a two-runner novice at Newcastle last season before he was set a stiff task in the RSA at Cheltenham. Was faced with an inadequate trip on his return at Kelso last month but built on that when an excellent seven lengths third to Cyrname and Vinndication in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby after jumping well in the lead. Weighted to turn the tables on Vinndication here and another bold bid is expected.

9. Mister Malarky (Colin Tizzard/ Jonjo O'Neill jnr)
Won over course and distance in his novice season and was also successful in the Reynoldstown at Ascot. His record since has been rather patchy, though he came good when beating Black Corton in a Grade 3 handicap at Kempton in February. Finished sixth off the same mark in this last year when improving for his return in the Sodexo Gold Cup at Ascot, and he was sixth in the latter race last month.

10. Black Op (Tom George/ Jonathan Burke)
Was more successful in his second spell over fences last term, winning at Stratford before finishing runner-up to Champ in a Grade 2 novice at Newbury and runner-up to Slate House in the Kauto Star at Kempton. Shaped as if retaining ability when a creditable fourth to Imperial Aura in a listed event at Carlisle on his reappearance but seems to have found his level now.

11. Two For Gold (Kim Bailey/ Ciaran Gethings)
Took really well to fences last season, completing the hat-trick in a Grade 2 novice at Warwick before running creditably when second to Copperhead in the Reynoldstown at Ascot. Posted an encouraging return over an inadequate trip when second to Huntsman Son in a listed handicap at Wetherby last month after making most. Set to progress again on that and the return to further enhances his claims.

12. The Conditional (David Bridgwater/ Brendan Powell)
Proved a revelation for this yard last term after coming from Ireland, winning at Cheltenham in October and back there at the Festival when beating Kildisart a neck, with Vinndication fourth, in the Ultima Handicap Chase. Travelled strongly when beaten a length and a half by De Rasher Counter in this race last year, but he is 10 lb higher now and lacks the prior run this time.

13. La Bague Au Roi (Warren Greatrex/ Richard Johnson)
Won her first four starts over fences in 2018/19, two at this course, the Kauto Star at Kempton and another Grade 1 at Leopardstown. Has found life tougher since, mainly on softer ground, but she wasn't disgraced when fifth in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby last time, shaping a bit better than the distance beaten suggests. On a competitive mark back in a handicap.

14. Danny Whizzbang (Paul Nicholls/ Sean Bowen)
Won both starts over hurdles and beat two rivals to make a winning start over fences in the Grade 2 John Francome Novices' Chase at this meeting last year. Has not shown the same form since, however, finishing third behind Slate House and Copperhead when highly tried on his other starts last term, and he reportedly bled on his handicap debut in the Badger Beers at Wincanton on his reappearance, jumping awkwardly. Others appeal more.

15. The Hollow Ginge (Nigel Twiston-Davies/ Gavin Sheehan)
Won novices at Worcester and Leicester (latter a handicap) on heavy ground last season. Was let down by his jumping and attitude in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham on his final start last term and unseated at the first on his return at Kelso last month. Set to struggle off his current mark in a race this competitive.

16. Potterman (Alan King/ Tom Cannon)
Reliable type who's been busy already this season, winning a useful handicap at Market Rasen in August. Runner-up since to Secret Investor at Chepstow and then when beaten a short head by El Presente in the Badger Beers at Wincanton. Latest start shows he stays beyond 3m and ground remaining no worse than good to soft would suit too.

17. Ardlethen (Dan Skelton/ Harry Skelton)
Won a novice at Chepstow on his chasing debut last autumn and ran creditably when placed later in the season, including when wearing headgear in graded events at Newbury and Wetherby. Ran up to his best despite facing a stiff task and reportedly finishing lame when fifth of six to Imperial Aura in a listed event at Carlisle on his return. No easy task here, though, back in a competitive handicap.

18. Cloth Cap (Jonjo O'Neill/ Tom Scudamore)
Finished third in the Scottish Grand National on the final start of his novice season in 2018/19. Failed to build on that under much softer conditions last season when placed twice from four starts, but he shaped encouragingly from just out of handicap on his reappearance at Cheltenham last month when third to Frodon and West Approach, a lack of fitness finding him out late on. Still young enough to build on earlier promise, though further still would probably suit ideally. Could go well.


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