2021 Ladbrokes Trophy: why this horse can win Saturday's big race at Newbury
Saturday's Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury is often an intriguing betting heat, and this season looks no different, with favourite Ontheropes heading the betting. Here, five of our experts select their fancy for the big race.
It's always tough to call races without the final declarations and there is a chance I'll see things differently when the final field appears but, at this stage, Fiddlerontheroof is my pick.
You need a horse who has a bit of class to win this race and Fiddlerontheroof is a Grade 1-winning hurdler who chased home Monkfish in the Brown Advisory at Cheltenham.
He evidently has enough ability and that is key because you simply must be able to hold an early position in the Ladbrokes Trophy. It is almost always won by a horse that jumps well and races in the first five or six throughout. Fiddlerontheroof looks capable of doing both.
Lostintranslation was the latest of trainer Colin Tizzard's big guns to show his best form when scoring at Ascot on Saturday and Fiddlerontheroof could give the trainer another win.
Graeme Rodway, deputy betting editor
The Irish-trained Ontheropes and Eklat De Rire are feared for leading connections, but they might come up short behind the promising Enrilo in this year's Ladbrokes Trophy.
Paul Nicholls, who won this race with Strong Flow in 2003 and Denman in 2007 and 2009, has long held Enrilo in the highest regard and has aimed him at this contest since he crossed the line in front in the bet365 Gold Cup last April (although he was demoted to third).
A smooth traveller with assured stamina, Enrilo has won six of his 12 starts and boasts a good record when fresh. His mark of 147 remains fair given a career-high RPR of 151 and this could prove to be the perfect stepping stone towards the Grand National in the spring.
Tom Collins, tipster
The Irish challenge this year looks almost irresistible, none more so than Eklat De Rire. He is a superb jumper who has quickly developed into a high-class chaser, with his only blemish being an unseat at Cheltenham which has never looked likely to be repeated in his three other chase starts.
There are valid questions about the big-field scenario and faster ground, but at least one of those matters less when a horse is bounced out in front like Eklat De Rire tends to be.
Moreover, we are dealing with at least a mid-160s horse running off 154 and I for one cannot resist the 6-1.
Keith Melrose, betting editor
If Enrilo had stayed straight at the end of last season, he would have signed off as the winner instead of the bet365 Gold Cup. Instead he was relegated to third by the stewards.
However, the seven-year-old's profile is one of a progressive chaser who should be able to improve again this season.
He has a nice weight (10st 11lb) and if conditions are on the quicker side for this time of the season that won't be an issue either.
David Baxter, juvenile judge
Willie Mullins trained Ireland's first winner of the Ladbrokes Trophy since 1980 when Total Recall won the 2017 race and it is easy to draw comparisons between him and Ontheropes.
Total Recall won the Munster National and was subsequently put up 18lb (129 to 147) before winning at Newbury. Ontheropes cruised through the same race and came home strongly to win off a mark of 141 and is up 12lb this weekend, but he surely has scope for further improvement.
Although Ireland's champion trainer has yet to send out many of his star players, this seems to have been a target from some way out and it would not surprise if he was shorter than his current price of 9-2at the off.
Matt Butler, reporter
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