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Elegant chance for Trophy glory

The Winter Carnival takes place at Newbury Racecourse this weekend

Liam Headd

Liam Headd


01635 886629

Elegant chance for Trophy glory

Paul Nicholls has high hopes for Black Corton

ANTE-post favourite Elegant Escape headlines the 14 declared in the £250,000 Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury on Saturday, the highlight of the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival.

Elegant Escape, trained by Colin Tizzard is the 5/1 favourite for the prestigious handicap chase with Ladbrokes following his half-length victory over Thomas Patrick in the Listed Future Stars Intermediate Chase at Sandown Park on November 11.

The six-year-old took high rank among the novice chasers last season, winning the G2 Ladbrokes John Francome Novices’ Chase at the 2017 Ladbrokes Winter Carnival before finishing third behind Presenting Percy in the G1 RSA Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

Tizzard, who captured the Ladbrokes Trophy in 2016 with Native River, has also left in G2 National Hunt Chase third Sizing Tennessee (20/1) and West Approach (20/1).

Six-year-old Dingo Dollar, trained by Alan King and set to be ridden by Wayne Hutchinson, is set for his second start at Newbury this season after running well to finish fourth in the three-mile Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle on November 8.

Wiltshire-based trainer King, who won the Ladbrokes Trophy with Smad Place in 2015, said: “Dingo Dollar is in good form.

“I have been very happy with him since he ran over hurdles at Newbury and the Ladbrokes Trophy is definitely the plan.

“He had a school over fences last week. He is in good order and I hope there is not too much rain at Newbury for him.”

Paul Nicholls is looking forward to saddling Black Corton (12/1) after the seven-year-old chaser finished second, despite a bad mistake, on his reappearance in the G2 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on November 3.

Emerging jockey Bryony Frost struck up an excellent partnership with Black Corton last season and the pair combined to win the G1 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day with Elegant Escape a length and a half back in second and six other chases.

Somerset-based Nicholls, who has won the Ladbrokes Trophy three times as a trainer with Strong Flow (2003) and Denman (2007 and 2009), said: “Black Corton is fine and the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury on Saturday is the plan.

“I am surprised we are such a big price compared to Elegant Escape, given the close form of our race at Newbury where we gave him weight and were beaten half-a-length.

“He is very versatile on the ground and doesn’t mind too much, but if it is very deep, then carrying a lot of weight is not going to help.”

Irish trainer Willie Mullins is aiming for back-to-back victories in Britain’s richest handicap chase outside the Grand National at Aintree, having won with Total Recall last year.

Kemboy is the shortest-priced of those at 6/1 following his three-length victory in the G2 Clonmel Oil Chase on November 15.

G1 Mildmay Novices’ Chase second Ms Parfois (7/1) has the chance to emulate Kerstin in 1959, the only mare to have won the Ladbrokes Trophy, while American (14/1) could have another tilt at the race, having bombed out when sent off second favourite in 2017.

Newbury’s seven-race programme on Saturday also includes the £50,000 Listed Ladbrokes Intermediate Hurdle (2.25pm), a limited handicap over two miles.

The Ladbrokes Winter Carnival gets under way tomorrow (Friday), when there will also be seven races.

Racing on both days starts at 12.10pm and ends at 3.35pm. Tickets will be available on the gate.

The Ladbrokes Trophy runners

- Kemboy

- Black Corton

- Elegant Escape

- American

- Dingo Dollar

- Thomas Patrick

- Sizing Tennessee

- Beware The Bear

- Go Conquer

- Ms Parfois

- Allysson Monterg

- Flying Angel

- West Approach

- The Young Master

Follow @NWN_Sport on Twitter for all the updates from Newbury across the weekend. We'll also be running a LIVE BLOG, so be sure to follow the action.

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