Ladbrokes Trophy: 2019 winner De Rasher Counter, Topofthegame and Copperhead in entries

Paul Nicholls intends to give Topofthegame a racecourse gallop as part of his preparation for the £200,0000 Ladbrokes Trophy.

The 5-1 ante-post favourite is set to make his seasonal debut in the big handicap chase on November 28.

The 2019 RSA winner is one of 39 entries for the contest, alongside 2019 hero De Rasher Counter, runner-up The Conditional and the Colin Tizzard-trained Copperhead.

Nicholls said: “We remain on target with Topofthegame with the plan to go straight for the Ladbrokes Trophy.

“We’ll probably take advantage of the invitation to gallop him at Newbury in mid-November as part of their official gallops morning.

“The prize-money on offer for the big race and across the two days is very good considering the current climate.”

Emma Lavelle’s De Rasher Counter won the 2019 renewal, ridden by 21-year-old jockey Ben Jones.

Topofthegame racing at Cheltenham

The eight-year-old aims to become only the second horse to win consecutive runnings of the race after the mighty Arkle (1964, 1965).

The trainer said: “De Rasher had a nice warm-up when coming second off top weight in a handicap hurdle at Newton Abbot a couple of weeks ago, which was a little earlier than we had originally planned.

“We are looking forward to running him again in the Ladbrokes Trophy as well as Paisley Park who will make his seasonal appearance in the Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle on the Friday.

Ben Jones riding De Rasher Counter (red/white stripes) to win the 2019 Ladbrokes Trophy Chase at Newbury Racecourse

“The whole weekend last year was quite amazing and all being well both horses will be back defending their titles in just a few weeks’ time.”

Grade 1 winners Slate House, Black Op, La Bague Au Roi and Blaklion also feature among the possible runners.

The race is worth £200,000, 80 per cent of pre-Covid-19 levels.

Newbury’s Clerk of the Course Keith Ottesen said: “This is certainly a competitive list of entries and an exciting race in prospect and we are just so sad that we are unable to welcome any spectators to our flagship jumps meeting.

An owner in the grandstand at Newbury Racecourse on July 18, 2020

“Our continued thanks to our sponsor Ladbrokes for their ongoing commitment to this meeting.

“With them, we have made a significant investment in prize money across two days during a very uncertain time for the business which we hope will be welcomed and supported by all.”

Ladbrokes spokesman Jon Lees added: “The Ladbrokes Trophy is one of the most historic jumps races in the calendar which has been won by some of the greats of the sport.

“This year promises to be another competitive running with 2019 RSA winner Topofthegame, who has been installed 5-1 favourite, bound to earn comparison with the great Denman if he gets to run off top weight after an injury layoff.”

Ladbrokes Trophy entries

Ardlethen

Aye Right

Ballyoptic

Benatar

Beware The Bear

Black Op

Blaklion

Champagne Court

Cloth Cap

Coo Star Sivola

Copperhead

Danny Whizzbang

De Rasher Counter

Django Django

Flying Angel

Hold The Note

Imperial Aura

Kapcorse

Kildisart

La Bague Au Roi

Lamanver Pippin

Mister Malarky

Ok Corral

Potterman

Regal Encore

Sam Brown

Secret Investor

Siruh du Lac

Slate House

Spiritofthegames

The Conditional

The Hollow Ginge

The Mighty Don

Topofthegame

Truckers Lodge

Two For Gold

Vinndication

Wholestone

Yala Enki

source.



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