February 28, 2021

Newbury given jumps boost

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Top jumps trainers Paul Nicholls, Nicky Henderson and Emma Lavelle have all welcomed the announcement this year’s Ladbrokes Trophy will be run at the value of £200,000.

Lavelle confirmed her stable stars De Rasher Counter and Paisley Park are both on course to defend their respective Newbury titles in the Ladbrokes Trophy and Long Distance Hurdle at the end of November.

Nicholls is planning to target the famous Grade Three handicap chase first time out with his long-absent Cheltenham Festival winner Topofthegame.

Both voiced their support for the efforts of the sponsors and Newbury for the prize money available in the 2020 Ladbrokes Trophy – which will be 80 per cent of last year’s value, while the Long Distance Hurdle remains at £50,000, at a time when so many are struggling to finance races because of the dire economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Newbury clerk of the course Keith Otteson also confirmed it is hoped a crowd will be in place to cheer home the winners at Newbury’s two-day Ladbrokes Winter Carnival, following the announcement this week that the first trials for the return of public attendance on courses will take place next month.

Total prize money for the meeting will be £530,000, 76 per cent of last year’s value, and Lavelle said: “This is another step in the right direction in terms of returning to near normal levels of prize money, and it’s positive to see this announcement from Newbury and Ladbrokes.

“Both De Rasher Counter and Paisley Park are back in work – and all being well, will head to Newbury to defend their titles in their respective races come the end of November.”

Nicholls said: “It’s good to see £200,000 on offer for the Ladbrokes Trophy under the current climate.

“It’s one of the most prestigious races of the jumps calendar – and all being well, I’ll be hoping to do a ‘Denman’ with Topofthegame by taking him there first time out this season.”

Denman, a dual winner of the great race, did so on his first start outside of novice company in 2007.

Henderson has won three editions, and said: “Newbury and Ladbrokes have to be congratulated on the news of their prize-money levels for their Festival weekend, as we need to keep moving in the right direction in these challenging times.

“Being able to nearly hold prize money to their pre-pandemic levels for the Ladbrokes Trophy, and last year’s value for the Long Distance Hurdle, is extremely welcoming news for everybody.

“These are challenging times for everybody, so this is not only welcome news but a good example of what can be achieved – and is much needed and appreciated.”

Otteson added: “This is a significant investment in prize money for our flagship jumps meeting during a very uncertain time for the business and the industry, which we hope will be welcomed and supported by the horsemen.

“We would like to record our thanks to Ladbrokes for their ongoing support, along with the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust. We are hopeful of being able to welcome crowds back here again for the meeting – and although to what level is unknown, the planning is well under way, and we are really looking forward to it.”