TOTAL RECALL is a worthy favourite for the Ladbrokes Trophy and can produce a famous victory in the race formerly known as The Hennessy Gold Cup, writes CHARLIE CROASDALE.
The Willie Mullins trained eight-year-old was put up antepost in this column four weeks ago when trading at the 8/1 mark, and remains a backable 11/2 at the time of writing.
Previously with Sandra Hughes, Total Recall was campaigned over distances shorter than ideal during his novice chase campaign, running out a good winner at Navan before an unlucky 11th of 18 at Leopardstown in January, badly hampered two out when looking to have a decent chance.
He was a different animal on his first start for champion trainer Mullins, bolting up in the 16-runner Munster National Handicap Chase at Limerick off 129, crusing into the lead hard on the bit under Ruby Walsh.
The second – Alpha Des Obeaux – beaten seven lengths, has since given the form a major boost when a convincing winner at Clonmel, but it was the manner of Total Recall’s performance that fills me with confidence there’s plenty more to come, having been heavily backed into 2/1f.
Up 18lb for that facile success, Mullins has spoken this week of his belief the horse could still be well handicapped of his revised mark and – granted a strong pace up front which is almost guaranteed with the likes of American and Cogry running – Paul Townend can deliver Total Recall late on to land this famous old prize for powerful connections.
I’d also recommend throwing a speculative few quid at Total Recall for the Cheltenham Gold Cup at the 50/1 (bet365) available. If– as hoped – he were to win at Newbury tomorrow, that’ll be long gone, in what looks a division with a lot of holes to be picked in the market principles.
Earlier at Newbury, I like two, starting with the Fergal O’Brien trained Cap Soleil in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (12.10) which opens the card.
O’Brien unbeaten four-year-old was impressive in three bumper wins but took her form to a new level when making a supremely exciting winning debut over timber at Newbury last month, beating well-touted rival Countister by seven lengths, with Paddy Brennan always in command and simply having to push her out for victory.
Cap Soleil gives weight away to her rivals tomorrow but looks a very smart mare to keep onside.
Next up is High Bridge in the Intermediate Limited Handicap Hurdle (2.25), who can make it three wins from three over this course and distance.
This former John Ferguson – now trained by Ben Pauling – was unbeaten in three starts last season prior to a fine run in the Supreme at Cheltenham, travelling well but fading up the hill.
The six-year-old made an excellent reapparance last month when third behind subsequent winners Elgin and Limited Reserve at Ascot, with the fifth – Verdana Blue – hacking up back at Ascot last week.
That rival could reoppose tomorrow but is up 8lb for her latest success whereas High Bridge could prove a fair bit better than his current mark of 145, at a flat track he clearly relishes, and should be backed at 6/1.
Switching attentions to today’s action, there’s two worthwhile bets at likely big prices on the all-weather at Southwell, with Captain Revelation backed to strike in the Sunbets Handicap (12.40).
A course specialist, the five-year-old has switched from Tom Dascombe’s yard to Michael Mullineaux, and runs here off a mark of 75, 3lb lower than his last win in a class four handicap over course and distance a year ago. Three of his five career wins have come on the Fibresand surface and he’s backed to land this contest, down in class.
Vroom is also interesting in the Sprint Handicap (2.45) for trainer Gay Kellaway. The four-year-old gelding has been dropped 4lb to 66 for his race over an inadequate trip last time out and, back up to six furlongs he should prove hard to beat having won over course and distance off 9lb higher in April.