Ladbrokes Trophy: Nicky Henderson believes Brave Eagle can run a decent race at Newbury
Nicky Henderson is confident that Brave Eagle can run a strong race in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury on Saturday.
The £250,000 steeplechase is the featured race of the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival, which kicks off on Friday.
Brave Eagle is the Lambourn trainer’s only runner in the race he has not won since 2013, when Triolo D'Alene took victory.
“He is in good form,” said Henderson. “He’s not exactly going to be one of the favourites or the frontline short-priced horses, but on the other hand he is a good each-way price.
“We have kept him for this and he has had a run under his belt [at Chepstow] having ran very well after a long time off because of an injury to a hock.
“I don’t see why he shouldn’t run a very decent race.”
Across the two-day meeting, the Seven Barrows handler is expected to send a very strong team to his local track with the likes of Jonbon, On The Blind Side and Mister Coffey all expected to run.
Jonbon made a winning start to his career in England when he won a National Hunt Flat Race at Newbury in March.
With that under his belt, he’s due to line up in a Maiden Hurdle on Friday – which will see him run in front of a crowd for the first time.
“He starts on Friday and he was due to be in the first race, but they have switched it to the third race for television purposes.
“It would’ve helped him if he was in the first race as the atmosphere will be different, but he has to get used to it.”
The Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle is the featured race on day one of the Winter Carnival and On The Blind Side will take his chance.
“He has done a lot of work, plus a gallop at Newbury, so he should be well-ready,” admitted Henderson. “There is always a question mark as to whether he is quite at that standard.
“He had a fantastic time last season and he was very consistent, but you’re up against the top dogs now.”
Earlier in the week, clerk of the course Keith Ottesen provided an update to the ground by saying it was good to soft.
“It is properly good to soft and I don’t see it drying out, so it should be fair for everybody,” he said.
With that in mind, Henderson had his say on the current conditions.
“I have been in touch with Keith and I know he is doing his best.
“We would like water, yes, but on the other hand if you water it too much now then you pay the penalty in December and January when the track will be unraceable because it’ll be too wet.”