Ladbrokes are the chief sponsor on a mammoth two day meeting at Newbury, highlighted by the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase on Saturday. Our top tipster Kevin O’Malley has Ante-Post Value pointers for Friday and Saturday at the Berkshire track...
Do The Rain Dance for Venetia’s 20/1 Aso on Friday
Aso is a classy horse on his day and Venetia Williams’ 8yo looks the value pick for the 2m4f Ladbrokes Handicap Chase at 2.25pm on Friday. With the likes of Willoughby Court, King's Odyssey and Dolos in the early prices, there is a quality feel to the race, along with in-form horses like Nightfly also in single figures. But if Aso turns up and is ready to show something like his best, odds of 20/1 are an insult to his proven talents. He hasn’t been seen since finishing 5th behind Smad Place in the Old Roan Chase last October and obviously the time off since is a concern, but this Grade 1 contender drops back into handicap company on a lenient mark of 150. His form when 3rd to Un De Sceaux in the Ryanair (RPR 161 / TS 151), along with other excellent bits of form he has on offer, suggests Aso is well capable of being very competitive if showing up here. We do need the rain to arrive, but it looks like it will. This one is a bit of a shot in the dark in terms of Aso’s overall well-being now, but he’s a huge price and if the ground does soften and he runs, his price will be half or less what it is now.
Kemboy a major threat to all but save on Sizing Tennessee
Colin Tizzard is responsible for the Ladbroke Trophy favourite in Elegant Escape, a horse with a near-on ideal profile for this race. He’s a short price though and can make the odd clumsy error, which could be to his detriment in a big field here, considering he is far more accustomed to operating against little more than a few horses at a time. At considerably bigger odds, his 10yo but fairly unexposed over fences stablemate - Sizing Tennessee - is a horse worth paying close attention to. He has had his own jumping issues, but has stacks of classy form to his name and seems to be enjoying his fencing more of late on the best of his efforts. He finished 3rd in the 4m race at the Festival, but that was probably a bit too far for him, before going off at 10/1 for the Scottish National only to be pulled up. He recorded an RPR of 153 and a Topspeed figure of 132 when scoring really well at Fontwell over just shy of 2m6f first time out this season, which will surely leave him absolutely spot on here. He’s not getting any younger, but retains a decent profile and this trip of 3m2f should be just about spot on for him. With a clear round he’ll definitely finish in the first 4-5 home and odds available don’t reflect the strength of that prediction.
The top weight, Kemboy, is an absolute weapon and is also worthy backing for last year’s winning trainer Willie Mullins. This very talented 6yo beat Alpha Des Obeaux convincingly first time out at Clonmel and will improve a lot for that outing. The form and speed ratings he produced at Punchestown in April were bordering on top class. He jumps clean and fast, quickens smartly and appears to have stamina in abundance. Obviously, shouldering 11st 12lb is quite a task on paper, but on the evidence of what the horse has actually achieved, he is a major player in this race.
You can get in touch with me via email: Kevin.OMalley@GG.CO.UK OR by finding me on Twitter: @KOM_GGRacing