Ground key to American’s weekend target

Harry Fry weighing up Newbury and Newcastle options

  • Wednesday 28 November
  • News
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Ground conditions will dictate whether American will take up his entry in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury on Saturday.

Harry Fry’s high-class chaser was pulled up when a leading contender for last year’s renewal of the prestigious handicap – formerly known as the Hennessy Gold Cup.

However, he split Definitly Red and Bristol De Mai on his next start in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham and returned to Prestbury Park to finish ninth in the Gold Cup in March.

American is set to return to action this weekend, but Fry will make a late decision on whether he will run at Newbury or make the long journey north for the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle.

The trainer said: “He has two options as he’s in the Ladbrokes Trophy and the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle and we’re just keeping an eye on the weather.

“Obviously he is a better horse on softer ground, so the more rain we get the better.

“It looks like Noel (Fehily) is going to be at Newcastle for the Fighting Fifth (to ride Summerville Boy), so there’s that to consider as well.

“We have to make a decision by 10am tomorrow (Thursday) with the Ladbrokes Trophy being a 48-hour declaration race.

“We want to run him in the race we think he has the best chance of winning, so we’ll see.

“It’s a big weekend and we’ll try to make the right call by running the horses in the most suitable races.”

American is a best-priced 16-1 for the Ladbrokes Trophy and 8-1 for the BetVictor Rehearsal Chase at Gosforth Park.

Kemboy is disputing favouritism for the Newbury showpiece with some bookmakers as Willie Mullins bids to claim the prize for the second successive year following Total Recall’s triumph 12 months ago.

However, he incurred a penalty for winning the Clonmel Oil Chase earlier this month and stable jockey Ruby Walsh feels he has plenty on his plate.

He told Racing UK: “It was an impressive reappearance. He picked up a penalty for that win, which moves him to 11st 12lb, and carrying 11st 12lb in a Ladbrokes Trophy is a huge ask.

“Denman managed it twice and so did Trabolgan, but they were coming off the back of winning RSA Chases and Gold Cups.

“That’s the sort of horse you need to carry 11st 12lb, so it will be a huge ask for him.

“He ticks a lot of the other boxes that statistics say you need to win a Ladbrokes Trophy – he’s the right age, he’s got the right profile, he’s won four chases and won over three miles.

“But 11st 12lb is a huge burden to carry.”

Newbury’s clerk of the course Richard Osgood reported conditions to have eased slightly on Wednesday lunchtime.

He said: “We’ve had 11.5 millimetres of rain in the last 24 hours and we have more rain forecast.

“At the moment the chase course is good to soft and the hurdle track is good to soft, soft in places.

“It’s hard to say what the ground will be like when racing starts on Friday. It depends how much rain we get.

“The ground will be on the easy side.”

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