Cloth Cap and Tom Scudamore led their rivals a merry dance from the drop of the flag to record an all-the-way victory in the Grade 3 Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury on Saturday.
The eight-year-old, trained by Jonjo O’Neill for owner Trevor Hemmings, only had 10st on his back and made the most of his low weight, producing a superb round of jumping in the 3m2f contest.
Aye Right, third to Cyrname in the Charlie Hall Chase last time out, and The Conditional, runner-up to De Rasher Counter in last year’s Ladbrokes Trophy, gave pursuit but never looked like reeling in Cloth Cap, who galloped clear after the last fence to record an easy ten-length victory.
Earlier on the Newbury card, the Paul Nicholls-trained Next Destination, owned by Malcolm Denmark, captured the Grade 2 Ladbrokes John Francome Novices’ Chase (2m7½f) while the mares Pink Sheets and Floressa both enjoyed Listed victories.
This year’s Champion Hurdle heroine Epatante made a successful reappearance in the Grade 1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle. There was drama at the very first hurdle as Not So Sleepy unseated rider Paddy Brennan – the loose horse then carried out Silver Streak and Tom O’Brien approaching the second flight.
With two rivals out of the picture, Daryl Jacob tried to make all the running on Sceau Royal but Aidan Coleman always looked confident on JP McManus’s mare, who was in receipt of 7lb. Epatante quickened up well after jumping the final hurdle to score easily by four and a quarter lengths.