Formerly known as the Hennessy Gold Cup, this race has parted ways with a long time affiliate and takes on a new identity as the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase. The substance of the race remains unchanged, however, with the complex mixture of improving second season chasers taking on the higher-rated and exposed older horses.
The early running to gain position in this race can often be vitally important, so a sound jumper who likes to bowl along in front is a major plus especially with the returning Gold Cup winner CONEYGREEE at the top of the weights.
He might not be the force of old, but having gone off as a short-priced favourite on his return this season in a Grade 2, it must surely be too soon to completely write off. His reappearance run was disappointing, and his yard claimed several excuses for the poor performance and he know back to down a mark of 165.
His race in a Grade 1 at Punchestown in the spring time earlier this year demonstrated that he still retained plenty of ability finishing behind the likes of Sizing John and Djakadam, and when he gets going into a rhythm out in front, he can be very difficult to peg back.
Admittedly, there are plenty of questions marks over him, and if he doesn’t perform, it could be his last race despite this only being his ninth official chase start.
But plenty of classy chasers have won this over the years and at a price of 16/1, his class is simply too big to ignore given he is without a doubt the best jumper and stayer in the race on his day.
One that could go with him at the front of proceedings is the unexposed seven-year-old, MISSED APPROACH, trading at decent odds of 22/1 (seven places on offer with Skybet) who was last seen over the major obstacles to finish a respectable 8/30 in the Scottish Grand National, when racing as a novice.
There is plenty to like about the chances of Richard Johnson’s charge who is already well-versed in big-field contests despite his low mileage.
Missed Approach proved his staying credentials when running a blinder to finish second behind Tiger Roll (with A Genie In Abottle back in fifth) over the four mile National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
His form figures don’t make for spectacular reading, but on galloping tracks he has generally performed better and is 1/1 at the track over the hurdles. He is also guaranteed to get the trip and is versatile from a “going” perspective.
This represents Missed Approach’s first start over fences this season, and there could be more to come off a mark of 145 with first-time blinkers tried.
0.75pts each-way Coneygree @16/1, 15:00 Newbury, Saturday (six places, 1/5 odds with Betfair)
0.75pts each-way Missed Approach @22/1, 15:00 Newbury, Saturday (seven places, 1/5 odds with Skybet)
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