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Ontheropes: one of Willie Mullins’ three Ladbrokes Trophy possible
Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Ireland appear to have a strong hand in Saturday’s Ladbrokes Trophy with Willie Mullins and Henry de Bromhead in charge of five of the top six candidates.
Mullins, the only Irish coach to have won Newbury’s winter highlight since 1980 when he had success with Total Recall in 2017, has three possible in-ante-post favorites Ontheropes, Brahma Bull and Annamix.
De Bromhead, fresh after winning the Betfair Chase with A Plus Tard, could return to the UK with third-favorite Eklat De Rire and top scorer Chris’s Dream.
The Paul Nicholls-trained Next Destination, a late non-runner from Betfair Chase, was the most notable absence as 22 horses advanced to the Ladbrokes Trophy on Monday.
Nicholls still has leading claims with Enrilo, who is second favorite at Fiddlerontheroof, while last year’s winner Cloth Cap is also in the accounts.
Also on Saturday, Irish hopes rest entirely on Belfast Banter in the Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle in Newcastle, as seven horses – including last year’s winner Epatante – remain engaged.
The 2020 Champion Hurdle winner beat Sceau Royal by over four lengths 12 months ago and was able to face that rival again.
Monmiral, who won the Grade 1 juvenile hurdle at Aintree in April, is among the other confirmations along with Silver Streak, Not So Sleepy and Voix Du Reve.