The National Hunt season is still warming up. There are some very big races and meetings just around the corner but there’s still more than enough to get excited about this weekend including the Bader Ales Trophy. Arguably the most prestigious handicap over fences at this time of year, the Badger Ales Trophy is run over 3 miles and 1 furlong.
There are 21 fences to be navigated on the way round. As ever, a quality field is set to compete at Wincanton and the bookies’ odds suggest this should be a tight contest.
Bigbadjohn the Pick at the Head of the Market
El Bandit and Present Man, are the two battling it out for favouritism at the head of the market.
El Bandit (5/1 with bet365) is a seven-year-old who still has plenty of promise to fulfil. Trained by Paul Nicholls, El Bandit has secured some very good results in his career but has not been seen since May 2017. Hopes are high among connections that he’s been well treated by the handicapper and that he will therefore return with a bang but he looks a little short after such a long term out.
Present Man (6/1 with RaceBets) is also trained by Paul Nicholls. While his stablemate was at home recovering, Present Man picked up some decent prizes last season including landing the 2017 Badgers Ales Trophy. He clearly has the class but his win last year came on soft ground and the last 10 renewals have only produced two winning favourites.
The main two in the betting will continue to get a lot of support but the best value could well be offered by Bigbadjohn at 8/1 with Coral. Nigel Twiston-Davies has already given his nine-year-old two runs this season and after blowing away the cobwebs at Chepstow he blew away the competition by winning at Wincanton at the end of October.
This is a step back up in class but connections are very happy that the going is set to remain on the firm side of good which should suit Bigbadjohn perfectly. Although he’s hardly the most consistent type, winning at the same course on pretty much the same ground as the Badger Ales Trophy should do his confidence the world of good and suggests that he is well priced at 8/1.
Sumkindofking to Relish Longer Trip Again
Sumkindofking began the new season by winning over 2m4f at Ludlow but rather than keeping him over the shorter trips, the decision was made to try him out over 3m2½f at Wincanton. The market believed that he had a chance as he went off at 2/1. The novice showed why some believe he has big wins in the future by jumping well whilst he managed well with the trip despite slipping.
Providing he has no such issues with 3m1f and jumps well again on Saturday, Sumkindofking should be a major player in the Badger Ales Trophy so warrants an each way bet at 14/1 with bet365.