Ladbrokes Trophy runner guide
Saturday, 2nd December
1. CONEYGREE (Mark Bradstock/Nico de Boinville)
Top-class chaser who won all four starts as a novice in 2014/15, including Cheltenham Gold Cup (by one and a half lengths from Djakadam), though problems have limited him to just four starts since. Produced best effort in 2016/17 when one and a half lengths third to Sizing John in Punchestown Gold Cup, and had excuses after six months off when pulled up in Charlie Hall Chase won by Bristol de Mai at Wetherby last time, reportedly suffering overreach after mistake at the eighth. Should be suited by demands of this race and cannot be discounted if bouncing back despite top weight.
2. WHISPER (Nicky Henderson/Davy Russell)
One-time very smart hurdler who reached a similar level over fences in 2016/17, winning Dipper Novices' Chase at Cheltenham before good second to Might Bite on final two starts, in RSA Chase back at Cheltenham and Mildmay Novices' Chase at Aintree. Made hard work of winning two-runner graduation event after seven months off at Kempton (by half a length from Clan des Obeaux) last time, pushed along to lead approaching last. Another career best likely to be needed under 4 lb penalty here.
3. AMERICAN (Harry Fry/Noel Fehily)
Fairly useful hurdler who has quickly developed into a much better chaser, winning novice at Exeter, listed novice at Warwick and novice handicap at Uttoxeter (impressive, by eight lengths from Rock The Kasbah) in 2016/17. Fragile sort who has 9 lb higher mark to contend with here, but remains open to more improvement and his bold-jumping, strong-travelling style looks tailor-made for this race.
4. CAROLE'S DESTRIER (Neil Mulholland/Robert Dunne)
Produced career best when half a length second to Native River in this race on 2016/17 reappearance, closing on idling winner but held dying strides. Well below form in Welsh Grand National on sole subsequent start that season, but clearly goes well fresh and no surprise to see him bounce back from 6 lb higher mark than when second 12 months ago.
5. LABEL DES OBEAUX (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson)
Compact gelding who won novice at Ludlow, novice handicap at Exeter and novice handicap at Ayr (by head from Calett Mad) in 2016/17, finishing off notably strongly on latter occasion and leaving firm impression this trip will suit at least as well. Produced laboured effort when third to Might Bite in listed event at Sandown last time, however, faring no better than on return at Chepstow. Bit to prove back in this more competitive environment.
6. A GENIE IN ABOTTLE (Noel Meade/Sean Flanagan)
Smart chaser who won minor event at Galway (by two and a half lengths from subsequent Troytown Chase winner Mala Beach) in October. Followed up in five-runner listed event at Wexford (by one and a half lengths from Tiger Roll, getting 6 lb from that rival) last time, asserting on run-in. Had plenty in his favour there, but clearly in good heart at present and looks sure to go well for yard that does not have runners over here for sake of it.
7. REGAL ENCORE (Anthony Honeyball/Richie McLernon)
Smart handicap chaser who won Silver Cup at Ascot (by one and three quarter lengths from Minella Daddy) in 2016/17. Below form in three subsequent starts, though, including when well held after seven months off in Sodexo Gold Cup back at Ascot last time. Capable on his day, but difficult to predict and opposable in a race as competitive as this.
8. ROYAL VACATION (Colin Tizzard/Paddy Brennan)
Useful-looking gelding who won handicap at Lingfield, Kauto Star Novices' Chase at Kempton and novice handicap at Cheltenham (by eight lengths from Potters Legend) in 2016/17. Below form after six months off when 23 lengths third to Guitar Pete in 2½m listed handicap at Wetherby last time, finding test on the sharp side. Will benefit from return to this longer trip and respected if reproducing pick of last season's form.
9. PLEASANT COMPANY (Willie Mullins/David Mullins)
Won Pat Taaffe Handicap Chase at Punchestown and Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse (by half a length from Thunder And Roses) in 2016/17. Shaped better than result when 28 lengths ninth to One For Arthur in Grand National at Aintree on final start that season, typically travelling strongly and holding every chance when making bad mistake six out. Still unexposed as a staying chaser and looks sure to go well having also won first time out last term.
10. TOTAL RECALL (Willie Mullins/Paul Townend)
Showed much-improved form after seven months off/on stable debut when winning 16-runner Munster National Handicap Chase at Limerick (impressive, by seven lengths from Alpha des Obeaux) last time, leading two out and quickly drawing clear before last. That form working out well (runner-up won a Grade 3 at Clonmel recently) and likely to progress further as a staying chaser. Obvious form chance despite 18 lb higher mark to contend with here.
11. SINGLEFARMPAYMENT (Tom George/Adrian Heskin)
Good-topped gelding who won novice at Cheltenham (by two and a half lengths from Arpege d'Alene) in 2016/17, and produced even better effort in defeat when short head second to Un Temps Pour Tout in Ultima Handicap back there on final start that season. Shaped encouragingly after eight months off when four lengths second to Cogry in handicap at same course last time, staying on well though making no impression on winner. Should improve for the run and looks sure to win races in good handicap company this term.
12. DOUBLE ROSS (Nigel Twiston-Davies/Tom Bellamy)
Popular sort who won veterans' race at Chepstow and ran well when five and a half lengths third to Native River in this race in 2016/17, just not so stout a stayer as the winner (or second) on latter occasion. Unseated rider at second in veterans' race won by Houblon des Obeaux at Sandown last time. 2 lb lower mark than when placed last year, but likely vulnerable to an improver once again.
13. PRESENT MAN (Paul Nicholls/Bryony Frost)
Smart chaser who won handicaps at Wincanton and Ascot, Grade 2 novice at Doncaster and novice back at Ascot (by one and three quarter lengths from Dark Flame) in 2016/17. Won novice hurdle after six months off at Kempton in October and followed up in 16-runner Badger Ales Trophy Handicap Chase at Wincanton (by head from Final Nudge) last time, jumping superbly and keeping on gamely. Good strike rate over fences and cannot be ruled out under 4 lb penalty.
14. MISSED APPROACH (Warren Greatrex/Richard Johnson)
Won novice at Lingfield (by six lengths from Label des Obeaux) in 2016/17, and ran to similar level when three lengths second to Tiger Roll in first-time cheekpieces in National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham later that season. Off seven months and without headgear, probably needed run when pulled up in West Yorkshire Hurdle won by Colin's Sister at Wetherby last time.
15. BIGBADJOHN (Rebecca Curtis/Adam Wedge)
Tall gelding who won maiden at Newbury and Reynoldstown Novices' Chase at Ascot (by short head from Flintham) in 2016/17, finding plenty to lead near finish on latter occasion. Well below form in two starts this term, however, and has plenty to prove for yard going through quiet spell.
16. VYTA DU ROC (Nicky Henderson/Aidan Coleman)
Produced best recent effort when head second to Henllan Harri in bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in 2016/17, keeping on well from last and only just failing. Shaped as if better for run after seven months off when 14 lengths fifth to Louis' Vac Pouch in handicap hurdle at Aintree last time, and young enough to progress further in staying handicaps this term.
17. BRAQUER D'OR (Paul Nicholls/Harry Cobden)
Useful chaser who won novice handicaps at Stratford and Newton Abbot in July, and Ludlow (by seven lengths from Ozzy Thomas) in October. Ran creditably when seven and a half lengths third to Go Conquer in Sodexo Gold Cup (Handicap Chase) at Ascot last time, labouring from before three out but keeping on well. Likely to prove best at shorter than this, however, and looks in handicapper's grip at present in any case.
18. COGRY (Nigel Twiston-Davies/Jamie Bargary)
Sturdy gelding who ran well when neck second to Vicente in Scottish Grand National at Ayr on final 2016/17 start. Went one better after six months off in 16-runner handicap at Cheltenham (by four lengths from Singlefarmpayment) last time, keeping mistakes to minimum for once and staying on strongly run-in. 6 lb hike in the weights to contend with here, though, and not an obvious candidate to follow up, for all that yard is having a good spell.
19. POTTERS LEGEND (Lucy Wadham/Brian Hughes)
Well-made gelding who won novices at Kempton and Bangor in 2016/17, and produced good effort when two and a half lengths fourth to Domesday Book in Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase at Cheltenham same season. Stepped up on reappearance when respectable four and three quarter lengths fourth to Sir Mangan in handicap at Bangor last time, but hard to fancy up in grade.
20. SOUTHFIELD ROYALE (Neil Mulholland/Brendan Powell)
Won novice at Wetherby and Grade 2 novice at Doncaster (by 13 lengths from Coologue) in 2015/16, but proved a disappointment in three starts last season. Offered more encouragement, though pulled up, after seven months off in Badger Ales Trophy Handicap Chase won by Present Man at Wincanton last time, in contention for a good way and only tiring after clouting three out. Can't be written off just yet, though others hold more obvious claims on form.
21. PILGRIMS BAY (Neil Mulholland/James Best)
Won novice handicap at Sandown and BetBright Chase (Handicap) at Kempton (by half a length from Double Shuffle) in 2016/17. Below form after eight months off when 18 lengths sixth to Present Man in Badger Ales Trophy Handicap Chase at Wincanton last time, needing lesser test. Irresolute sort who is unlikely to have stamina reserves for this longer trip.
Timeform Ladbrokes Trophy 1-2-3
1. Total Recall
Timeform Analyst's Ladbrokes Trophy Verdict
Irish-raider TOTAL RECALL strikes as being still well treated despite running off 18 lb higher than when landing the Munster National in October. That was his first run for Willie Mullins and there's a strong chance this 8-yo has plenty more to come for his new stable. Progressive pair American and Singlefarmpayment rate obvious threats, while Vyta du Roc is one who could go well at bigger odds.