The weights are unveiled today for the £250,000 Ladbrokes Trophy, the highly-prestigious three and a quarter mile handicap chase which takes place at Newbury on Saturday, December 1st, day two of the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival.
Terrefort (Nicky Henderson), thas been allotted 11st 5lb after winning novices’ chases at Sandown Park and Aintree last season.
The progressive grey chaser was successful on his one previous start in handicap company in the UK when taking a novices’ handicap chase at Huntingdon in January and, if successful on December 1st, would be the first five-year-old to win the Ladbrokes Trophy. He is set to reappear at Sandown Park this Sunday, November 11th.
Henderson, the champion jump trainer based just north of Lambourn, is seeking a fourth Ladbrokes Trophy success and could also run Vyta Du Roc (10st 8lb), Janika (10st 6lb), Beware The Bear (10st 9lb).
Elegant Escape (Colin Tizzard, 10st 12lb), ran well when third in novices’ chases at the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals, while Irish-trained Snow Falcon (Noel Meade, 11st 5lb), who already has two big wins on the board this season, having taken the Kerry National at Listowel in September and a Down Royal contest are other entries.
Elegant Escape’s trainer Colin Tizzard could also be represented by the 2016 King George VI Chase winner and top-weight Thistlecrack (11st 12lb), Sizing Tennessee (10st 9lb,), The Dutchman (10st 8lb) and Thistlecrack’s half-brother West Approach (10st 3lb). Tizzard, whose stables are on the Dorset/Devon border, is after a second Ladbrokes Trophy success following on from Native River (2016), the subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup winner.
Alan King saddled the popular grey Smad Place to a famous victory in the 2015 Ladbrokes Trophy and has two entries this year, headed by Dingo Dollar (10st 9lb). The six-year-old improved last season, with his two successes over fences including an impressive 15-length victory in a novices’ handicap chase at Newbury in December, when he had subsequent Scottish Grand National winner Joe Farrell back in third.
Wiltshire-based King said: “Dingo Dollar is in in good form at home and we are looking to head for the Ladbrokes Trophy.
“We would like to get one run in beforehand and he is declared to run at Newbury tomorrow over hurdles before the Ladbrokes Trophy.
“He is a nice horse who doesn’t want the ground to be too soft and I think he could be a Scottish National horse in the long-term.”
Another trainer to have already landed the Ladbrokes Trophy is David Pipe, who saddled Madison Du Berlais to success in 2008.
The Nicholashayne handler is considering this year’s Ladbrokes Trophy for Un Temps Pour Tout (11st 5lb). The nine-year-old landed back-to-back successes in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, but has not been seen out since his second victory in that contest in March, 2017.
Pipe revealed: “Un Temps Pour Tout is back and we are looking forward to this season with him.
“He missed last year through injury and we are hoping to have a full season with him this time around.
“He will be entered in the Grand National as his long term target and other long-distance chases will be on his agenda.
“He is entered in the Ladbrokes Trophy and the race is a possibility at the moment.”
There are 12 Irish-trained contenders in total for the 2018 Ladbrokes Trophy. In addition to Snow Falcon, the Irish-trained contenders are headed by last year’s winner Total Recall (11st 3lb), one of eight entries for Ireland’s champion jump trainer Willie Mullins, including leading hopes Al Boum Photo (11st 6lb), Isleofhopendreams (10st 5lb), Up For Review (10st 7lb) and Kemboy (11st 4lb).
Somerset-based Paul Nicholls has saddled the winner of the Ladbrokes Trophy three times, headed by the great Denman in 2007 and 2009.
The 10-time champion jump trainer has six entries this year including Black Corton (11st 4lb), who was second on his eventful seasonal reappearance in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on November 3, when his rider Bryony Frost made an amazing recovery to stay in the saddle after a mistake.
Nicholls reported: “Black Corton ran well behind Definitly Red in the Charlie Hall Chase. The winner was rated 11lb higher, so our horse ran a really good, solid race.
“I would have preferred to be upsides turning in rather than two lengths behind, but I supposed he got a bit out of rhythm, but it was a good sit by Bryony.
“The Wetherby race was a step up in class to what he was running in last year and he ran well.
“Black Corton (won eight last races season) won’t find it as easy as last season as it is a bit of a different ball game – he was able to boss around horses that he was better than.
“We will look at something like the Ladbrokes Trophy with him.”
There is a scratchings deadline for the £250,000 Ladbrokes Trophy on Tuesday, November 13th, details of which will be revealed that afternoon.