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One trainer, one jockey, one horse and one race to watch on Saturday

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Trainer

It could prove to be a crucial 15 minutes in the season for Paul Nicholls on Saturday as he saddles leading contenders in the feature contests at Newbury and Newcastle.

The Ditcheat trainer will get his first crack at big-race glory in the Ladbrokes Trophy (3.00) with Enrilo, who dramatically had the bet365 Gold Cup taken away by the Sandown stewards last season.

At Newcastle, Nicholls then takes the wraps off star juvenile hurdler Monmiral in the Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle (3.15) as he bids to showcase his Champion Hurdle claims.

Jockey

Another Saturday, another big occasion for Rachael Blackmore as she tries to plunder another glittering prize in Britain, this time in the Ladbrokes Trophy (3.00).

Blackmore, successful in last weekend's Betfair Chase on A Plus Tard, rides the strongly fancied Eklat De Rire for her boss Henry de Bromhead in the prestigious handicap chase.

She has two other mounts on the Newbury card, partnering Mr Incredible in the Ladbrokes John Francome Novices' Chase (12.40) and Somptueux in the Sir Peter O'Sullevan Memorial Handicap Chase (1.15) – both for De Bromhead.

Horse

It could be D-day in deciding which way Epatante's career goes as the 2020 Champion Hurdle heroine bids for back-to-back wins in the Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle (3.15).

The star mare looked to have the 2m hurdling division in her grip when she eased to victory in this race 12 months ago, but then she suffered a shock reverse in the Christmas Hurdle before being well held by Honeysuckle in the Champion Hurdle and again at Punchestown.

She had major back surgery in the summer and will need to put up a stellar performance to announce herself as a real challenger to Honeysuckle once more.

Race

The Ladbrokes Trophy (3.00) has long been one of Britain's most prestigious handicap chases and has once again attracted a deep field with a mix of untapped potential and handicapping stalwarts.

The strong Irish team is headed by Eklat De Rire and completed by a trio of Willie Mullins challengers – Munster National winner Ontheropes and Kerry National second and third Brahma Bull and Annamix.

However, the home defence looks deep this year as Fiddlerontheroof represents the resurgent Colin Tizzard team, while Cloth Cap bids for back-to-back successes and a poignant victory in the colours of the late Trevor Hemmings.

Enrilo, Kitty's Light, Potterman, Demachine and Remastered also feature in a competitive running as they try to join the likes of Denman, Native River, Bobs Worth, Burrough Hill Lad and Arkle on the illustrious roll of honour.


Read these next:

2021 Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury: the runners, the odds, the verdict

Fantasy Ladbrokes Trophy: who would win if the best from the last 20 years met?


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The strong Irish team is headed by Eklat De Rire and completed by a trio of Willie Mullins challengers
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