Paul Nicholls eyes more Ladbrokes Trophy glory at Newbury as Enrilo leads the way
Paul Nicholls is targeting his fourth success as a trainer in the £250,000 Ladbrokes Trophy and is priming course winner Enrilo to tackle the historic Newbury handicap chase on his first start of the campaign.
Enrilo became the sponsor’s new 7-1 favourite following the scratching of Shan Blue from the 3m2f contest, for which Royale Pagaille has been set 11st 12lb from Chris’s Dream on 11st 11lb in the weights for the feature prize of the two-day Ladbrokes Winter Carnival which were published on Tuesday.
If Royale Pagaille took his chance, Enrilo would run off 10st 10lb in the handicap, while Cloth Cap, who carried 10st to victory last year, would have 11st 3lb. Champion trainer Nicholls believes Enrilo, owned by Martin Broughton and friends, has gained the right blend of experience in a career in which he has won six out of 12 starts.
He recorded a victory over fences at Newbury back in February and next time out finished first past the post in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown where he was subsequently demoted to third for causing interference when hanging left after the final fence.
“The intention is to go straight to Newbury with Enrilo, it always has been the plan for him to go there fit, fresh and well,” said Nicholls who won the Ladbrokes Trophy with Strong Flow in 2003 and Denman in 2007 and 2009, as well as landing it twice as a jockey on Broadheath and Playschool in 1986 and 1987.
“He won at Newbury last season and obviously ran well at Sandown where he was a bit green in front. We have learned lessons in that he doesn’t want to be in front too soon, but he travels well in a race which will suit a race like the Ladbrokes Trophy. The Ladbrokes Trophy is always a hot race but we are trying to do our best to go there in great shape, with a great chance.”
He added: “The trip will be no worry at all for him. He has matured a bit this season and grown up.”
Nicholls said the stable’s other entries had other targets with Next Destination more likely to run in the Betfair Chase the weekend before the Ladbrokes Trophy, and Lalor the Paddy Power Gold Cup.