Trump May Not Be Welcome in the UK, But the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival This Weekend Very Much Is!

The idiocy of Donald Trump knows no bounds, and when you thought bouffanted US president couldn’t sink any lower he goes and retweets a series of posts by the far-right organisation Britain First.

There are a plethora of excuses that Trump could have used to cover his gaffe – he could have used the classic ‘I was hacked’ which has become the favourite of badly-behaved celebrities without the backbone to be held accountable for their actions – but instead he did not deny that the retweets were ‘endorsements’ of the message conveyed within: i.e. that the UK is harbouring potential Islamic extremists (and various other unsavoury accusations of the Muslim population).

As we live in an increasingly pathetic world governed by social media, Theresa May responded not by denouncing Trump in a hastily-arranged press conference, but instead via her own Twitter feed – carefully penned by a Conservative PR officer, of course. She denounced his actions, as you would expect, and the POTUS – the leader of the free world, remember – replied with:

The ‘we are doing just fine!’ bit might stick in the throat of the families and friends of those slaughtered due to Trump’s continuation of lax gun laws in the country – chiefly responsible for the atrocity that unfolded in Las Vegas a few months ago.

Undertone: beards and burkhas = terrorists, white man slaying countless others = lunatic.

It will certainly be interesting to see how Trump’s planned State visit to the UK unfolds….if it does at all.

That’s something uniquely depressing to look forward to in 2018, but in the meantime let’s forget all that nonsense and instead focus on a fine weekend of National Hunt action from Newbury courtesy of the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival.

Future Stars to Reveal Themselves in Ladbrokes Trophy

The Winter Carnival is a two-day bonanza of top class National Hunt racing, and while the return of Thistlecrack in Friday’s Long Distance Hurdle catches the eye it is Saturday’s Ladbrokes Trophy that really gets the juices flowing.

The main reason is because past winners of this renewal have gone on to achieve all manner of great things in the game. From Arkle (3x Cheltenham Gold Cup winner) and Denham (Cheltenham Gold Cup champion) to Bob’s Worth (3x Cheltenham Festival winner) and Many Clouds (Grand National winner), this is a Grade 3 renewal with a long lineage of creating winners of prestigious races further down the line.

Contested over three miles, two furlongs, the Ladbrokes Trophy is one of the most intriguing pre-Christmas handicaps and represents a fine opportunity for horses and their connections to lay down a marker for the rest of the 2017/18 campaign.

So who are the runners catching the eye?

Hasta La Vista to Total Recall?

The bookmakers’ favourite for the Ladbrokes Trophy – albeit a lengthy 5/1 shot – is Total Recall, a Willie Mullins steed with a chequered history.

If we roll back to 2016, we note a horse that won just twice in eight starts; a year that also featured a fall, a pulled up and an unseated rider on his resume.

His early efforts in 2017 – 11/18 and 5/10 – were hardly any better, and the reason for his favouritism is because he won on his seasonal return in a three-mile slog at Limerick the other week.

It was an impressive run, make no mistake, and could well serve as a sign of better things to come. But this is a generally unimpressive eight-year-old whose switch to the Mullins yard may or may not yield dividends.

French American

His name may be American, but this is a French horse trained in the UK by Harry Fry, and the seven-year-old has leapt to prominence with three wins in as many starts.

The latter pair of those came earlier this year in stodgy conditions over three miles, ad he is a proven winner even with heavy handicaps on his back.

You sense this is a horse with the potential to step up in class, and in this field that makes a price of 13/2 tantalising value here.

Henderson Won’t Be Careless With His Whisper

For my money though, the most intriguing horse in the field in Whisper (8/1).

The Nicky Henderson trained nine-year-old has run four times in 2017 to date: winning twice and coming second to the outstanding Might Bite in the other two – both Grade 1s as well in the RSA Novices’ Chase (by a nose) and the Mildmay Novices’ Chase (two lengths).

That’s classy company to keep, and suggests that in taking a step back here to Grade 2 Whisper should be being treated with more respect by the market – especially as those towards the summit are not mind-blowing campaigners.

Henderson is a three-time winning trainer in this race with a trio of different horses, and it may well be the case that Whisper adds to that lineage on Saturday.