Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Mark Bradstock 'quietly confident' of reclaiming Ladbroke Trophy with Gold Cup hero Coneygree

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Mark Bradstock's team are hoping that former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Coneygree can land the Ladbroke Trophy despite carrying top weight.

The ten-year-old proved a historic winner of the blue ribband event at the Festival, becoming the first novice to win the Gold Cup in 42 years, but things haven't been as straight forward since.

Plagued with injury, he raced only twice last season finishing second to Cue Card in the Betfair Chase before an exceptional close third at Punchestown. He was only beaten a length and a half behind race fit Gold Cup winner Sizing John.

He was pulled-up on his return in Wetherby's Charlie Hall Chase, but confidence is high for the yard that won this with Carruthers in 2011.

Denman triumphed with top weight in 2007 and 2009, and the Bradstocks believe the exceptional Gold Cup winner can emulate the former Cheltenham hero.

“Coneygree seems great and I am delighted with him," said the Lambourn handler.

"He went round Newbury the other day and jumped absolutely fabulous. David Bass, who schooled him at Newbury, said he’d have paid to ride him.

“I am not quite sure what happened at Wetherby but it was very, very unlike him to jump like that. There were certainly three jockeys who said the sun was a problem and the horse struck into himself quite nastily. It was just one of those things.

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Coneygree was well in contention before blundering the final fence in the Punchestown Gold Cup

“I think the best race he has run in his life was at Punchestown last year, on ground that was probably a bit quick for him. I know he has only run about 12 times in his life but Wetherby was his only real blip and I think we can give him benefit of the doubt.

“Top-weight doesn’t really worry me. Having spoken to Richard Osgood this morning, I am glad to hear he thinks it is going to be good to soft or soft at the weekend and there will be covers down on the take-offs and landings.

"I am happy to see the race run on better ground than heavy ground with a big weight like that.

"I am sure he will run a big race on Saturday. I am quietly confident.”

Coneygree is currently fancied around 14-1 for Ladbroke Trophy glory on Saturday, with the market led by Willie Mullins' Total Recall.

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