Ladbrokes Trophy action
Ladbrokes Trophy action

Newbury Ladbrokes Trophy meeting preview: Course guide and key statistics

Timeform’s Newbury course guide

A left-handed track, galloping with few undulations. One of the fairest courses in the country, though its galloping nature does suit the big, long-striding type.

The chase course is regarded as being fairly stiff, though the casualty rate is no more than average compared to all British tracks.

Leaders are rarely overhauled on the chase run-in for all it often looks as though they might be, especially from the elbow. The ground can vary from chase course to hurdles course, with the latter sometimes more testing.

"You know what they say about when Denman eyeballs you" - Daryl Jacob on Diamond Harry's Hennessy

Leading active jockeys at the Ladbrokes Trophy meeting

Sorted by strike rate in the last five years (minimum 10 rides)

  • Tom Scudamore 27.78% (5-18)
  • Nico de Boinville 23.33% (7-30)
  • Harry Skelton 17.14% (6-35)
  • Harry Cobden 15.38% (6-39)
  • Jeremiah McGrath 15.38% (2-13)

Other points to consider

  • Tom Scudamore has the best strike rate at the Ladbrokes Trophy meeting over the last five years, his five wins including two of the last three renewals of the signature race itself on Sizing Tennessee and Cloth Cap. He also won the big race in the Hennessy Gold Cup era on Madison du Berlais in 2008.
  • Scudamore has also come away with at least one winner at all four of the Ladbrokes Trophy meetings he has ridden at in the last five years, a record matched only by Harry Cobden.
  • Harry Bannister is another jockey to note, successful in three of the four years in which he has ridden at the meeting from a total of just nine rides.
Cloth Cap: won the Ladbrokes Trophy under Tom Scudamore
Cloth Cap: won the Ladbrokes Trophy under Tom Scudamore

Leading active trainers at the Ladbrokes Trophy meeting

Sorted by strike rate in the last five years (minimum 10 runners)

  • Ben Pauling 26.67% (4-15)
  • Nicky Henderson 22.95% (14-61)
  • Emma Lavelle 20% (2-10)
  • Dan Skelton 16.22% (6-37)
  • Colin Tizzard 15.79% (6-38)

Other points to consider

  • Ben Pauling’s impressive strike-rate has come from some of the trainer’s best horses being aimed at the meeting. High Bridge and Global Citizen won successive renewals of the Gerry Feilden Hurdle in 2017 and 2018, while Willoughby Court landed the Berkshire Novices’ Chase in the first of those years.
  • The stable’s other winner at the meeting, Bright Forecast, successful in the maiden hurdle which has an impressive roll-call of past winners (including Buveur d’Air, Lostintranslation, My Drogo), went on to finish third in that season’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
My Drogo (grey silks) won a maiden hurdle with an illustrious roll of honour
My Drogo (grey silks) won a maiden hurdle with an illustrious roll of honour

Best performances at the Ladbrokes Trophy meeting

Sorted by Timeform performance ratings in the last five years

  • Whisper (165) – 2017 Ladbrokes Trophy Second
  • Aso (162) – 2018 2m4f handicap chase WON
  • Kalashnikov (161) – 2019 2m4f handicap chase Second
  • Native River (160) – 2016 Hennessy Gold Cup WON
  • Paisley Park (159) – 2020 Long Distance Hurdle Second

Denman famously put up some tremendous weight-carrying performances when successful under 11-12 in both of his Hennessy Gold Cups in 2007 and 2009. Whisper found the task of conceding a stone to Total Recall just beyond him when going down by a neck under 11-8 in the 2017 Ladbrokes Trophy, but that ranks as the meeting’s best performance in the last five seasons.

The 2m4f handicap chase has also seen some high-class efforts, from Aso who ran his rivals into the ground under 11-10 in 2018, and from Kalashnikov who was pipped by a nose under 11-12 when trying to concede 20 lb to winner Oldgrangewood a year later.

Native River’s 2016 Hennessy victory, conceding weight to his closest pursuers, put him firmly on course for a successful Cheltenham Gold Cup bid later that season, so in hindsight it was just about ‘mission impossible’ for the previous year’s winner Smad Place who ran to a similar level in seventh under top weight from a BHA mark of 166.

Paisley Park won the 2019 Long Distance Hurdle but he ran a better race in defeat in the same contest a year later when going down by a length and a half to Thyme Hill, conceding 3 lb to the winner. The tables were duly turned when they met at level weights in the following month’s Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot.

Ladbrokes Trophy trends

Since 2000 unless specified otherwise

  • Age – 9/21 winners of the Ladbrokes Trophy/Hennessy Gold Cup have been aged seven which makes them much the most successful age-group. Only two winners this century have been aged older than eight. Denman was nine when successful for the second time in 2009, while in 2018 Sizing Tennessee became the first ten-year-old to be successful since Diamond Edge in 1981.
  • Weight carried – 13/21 winners carried 11-0 or more with Trabolgan (2005) and Denman (2007 and 2009) successful under 11-12. Trabolgan won from a BHA mark of 151, while Denman was successful from marks of 161 and 174. Last year’s winner Cloth Cap was only the second horse this century to carry just 10-0 (BHA mark of 136) after Diamond Harry in 2010 when the majority of the field raced from out of the handicap due to Denman (who finished third under 11-12) topping the weights from a mark of 182.
  • SP – 13/21 winners were sent off at less than 10/1. Celestial Gold (9/4 in 2004) is the shortest-priced winner and Madison du Berlais (25/1 in 2008) the longest-priced winner.
  • Trainers to follow – 8/21 winners have been trained by either Paul Nicholls (2003, 2007 and 2009), Nicky Henderson (2005, 2012 and 2013) or Colin Tizzard (2016 and 2018).
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Long Distance Hurdle trends

Since 2000 unless specified otherwise

  • Age – Eight-year-olds have marginally the best record in the race this century with six wins, with all bar one of the winners to be successful at that age winning the race on at least one other occasion, notably Inglis Drever who won three renewals and Big Buck’s four.
  • SP – 17/21 have started at 7/2 or shorter and eight winners have been odds-on, including Big Buck’s in all four of his wins. Much the biggest upset was caused by 40/1-shot Beer Goggles in 2017.
  • Seasonal debuts – 15/21 winners came into the race without a run previously in Britain that season (that's including Celestial Halo who had run in France during the summer).
  • Trainers to follow – Paul Nicholls mainly has Big Buck’s to thank for being the race’s most successful trainer but he won it for a fifth time in a row when Celestial Halo was successful in 2013.

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