The most valuable and prestigious National Hunt race of the season at Newbury, the £250,000 Grade 3 Ladbrokes Trophy, has attracted 56 quality entries for its 2018 renewal which takes place over three and a quarter miles on Saturday, 1st December, day two of the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival.
Ireland’s champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins saddled Total Recall to success in the 2017 edition of the famous handicap chase. Total Recall was the first Irish-trained success of the Newbury race since Bright Highway in 1980.
Total Recall is one of eight entries for Mullins in 2018 and could bid to become the fourth dual winner of the Ladbrokes Trophy following Mandarin, Arkle and Denman.
The Mullins-trained octet also include Fairyhouse Grade 1 scorer Al Boum Photo, impressive Punchestown novices’ handicap chase winner Kemboy, Leinster National victor Pairofbrowneyes, Up For Review, a useful novice last season, and Isleofhopendreams, runner-up in the 2018 Irish Grand National.
The other Mullins entries are Grade 2 National Hunt Chase scorer Rathvinden and Invitation Only.
There are 12 entries in total from Ireland, with Gordon Elliott having entered three-time Grade 1 victor Don Poli and Monbeg Notorious, successful at Grade 2 level last season.
The 2018 Kerry National winner Snow Falcon (Noel Meade) and Last Goodbye (Liz Doyle) complete the Irish-trained contenders.
Heading the betting market for the handicap chase with the race sponsor Ladbrokes is the progressive grey chaser Terrefort from Nicky Henderson’s yard.
The exciting five-year-old arrived at Seven Barrows, Lambourn late last year and has succeeded on three of his four starts in Britain so far, including Grade 1 victories at Sandown Park in the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase over two and a half miles in February and at Aintree on his most recent start in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase over three miles and a furlong in April.
Britain’s champion National Hunt trainer could also be represented by Beware The Bear, Vyta Du Roc and Janika.
The likely top-weight for the 2018 Ladbrokes Trophy is Thistlecrack (Colin Tizzard), who landed the two biggest victories of his career in the 2016 Grade 1 Stayers’ Hurdle and the 2016 Grade 1 King George VI Chase
Tizzard’s other entries include Sizing Tennessee, The Dutchman and West Approach, a half-brother to Thistlecrack.