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Badger Beers Trophy Preview: Johanos can make a mockery of handicap mark


Jake Pearson previews the Badger Beers Trophy which takes place at Wincanton on Saturday, and fancies a lightly-raced up-and-comer to take the spoils.

Paul Nicholls has been the man to turn to in the Badger Ales Trophy – now called the Badger Beers - and is bidding for an unprecedented tenth success in the competitive handicap chase staged at Wincanton, his local course.

Nicholls and Bryony Frost have teamed up to win the last two editions with Present Man and the nine-year-old is set to defend his crown on Saturday off a mark just 4lb higher than the one he defied last year.

He has slid back in the weights after failing to make an impact in three starts after winning at Wincanton but will have been freshened up and it’s worth noting he won last year’s Badger Ales on his reappearance.

He will have been primed for this and has an excellent record at Wincanton, winning three of his five starts overs fences, but there is a doubt about whether he can repeat the kind of form he showed to win last season.

Nicholls could also turn to Give Me A Copper, who turned in a lacklustre display to finish fourth in the Bet365 Gold Cup (Present Man was pulled up) at Sandown on his final start but had shaped like a well-handicapped horse when coming home fourth on his reappearance at the same venue. He remains very lightly raced for a nine-year-old and has the talent to do better.

Colin Tizzard won with Gentleman John three years ago and he is responsible for the ante-post favourite White Moon. White Moon was strong in the betting on his return at Wincanton last month and was still in front, albeit facing a serious threat, when falling at the last. A 5 lb higher mark will demand more but he remains relatively unexposed over fences.

Tizzard could also be represented by West Approach, who is temperamental and has gone the best part of two years without a victory, and Royal Vacation, who is entitled to build on his comeback at Chepstow and has slipped to a fair mark but needs to do more.

Calipto catches the eye for Venetia Williams. He is one of the class acts in this field, and can be forgiven for his performance in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last season, when he was pulled up after losing a shoe.

Prior to that he produced a career-best effort when beating Black Corton in good style at Ascot, and he can make an impact if avoiding the mistakes which have sometimes hampered his progress.

Achille could also be an interesting contender for Williams having progressed well last season, winning three of his last four starts, including at Ffos Las on his final outing in April. He impressed with how well he jumped on that occasion, and the zest with which he travelled, and he remains relatively lightly raced for this yard.

Johanos was held in high enough regard by trainer Nigel Hawke to contest the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last season (he fell with a circuit still to race) and he created a good impression on his reappearance at Chepstow last month, going down narrowly to a race-fit rival having jumped well. The assessor was unable to bump him up in the weights, despite showing improved form, and he now looks well treated, even if he has to compete here from slightly out of the handicap.

There are plenty of familiar faces and old stalwarts in this handicap chase but it could be worth siding with the lightly-raced up-and-comer in Johanos. He has had only three runs over fences, so looks open to plenty of improvement, but has already run to a level which suggests he’s some way ahead of his mark. He needs a couple to come out to secure a run, but will hold excellent claims if making it to the start. Calipto made an impact in some competitive contests last year and could be the one to side with should Johanos not make the cut.




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1st Mr Harrison Beswick silk 2. WORKING CLASS 18/119
2nd Matt Griffiths silk 4. BANG ON (IRE) 11/26.5
3rd Richard Johnson silk ½ 1. LE LIGERIEN (FR) 9/110
All 10 ran.

16:00 LUDLOW

1st Mr Anthony O'Neill silk 4. BHUTAN (IRE) 12/113
2nd Miss Alice Stevens silk ½ 12. WILDE SPIRIT (IRE) 4/15jf
3rd Mr Liam Harrison silk 11 9. GRAGEELAGH GIRL (IRE) 4/15jf
J: Mr Anthony O'Neill (7)  
12 ran. NRs: 1 


1st Mr P. W. Mullins silk 5. TACTICAL MOVE (IRE) 4/51.8f
2nd Mr M. J. O'Hare silk 3. IDAS BOY (IRE) 3/14
3rd Miss A. B. O'Connor silk 24 9. MOYODE GOLD (IRE) 40/141
All 9 ran.


1st Henry Brooke silk 7. KINGRULLAH (IRE) 9/25.5
2nd Craig Nichol silk 6. GLORIOUS LADY (IRE) 3/14f
3rd Mr N. Bannister silk 9 1. ROYCANO 18/119
J: Henry Brooke  
All 11 ran.


1st Tom Scudamore silk 1. WALT (IRE) 16/117
2nd Richard Johnson silk nk 4. BROTHER TEDD 6/17
3rd Max Kendrick silk 5. TEMPLEPARK 2/13f
8 ran. NRs: 9 

15:30 LUDLOW

1st A. P. Heskin silk 2. GROUP STAGE (GER) 2/13
2nd Barry Geraghty silk 11. GAVROCHEKA (FR) 15/82.87f
3rd Jamie Moore silk ½ 7. ZAMANI (GER) 14/115
J: A. P. Heskin  
T: Alan King  
10 ran. NRs: 4 


1st M. P. Walsh silk 3. SHATTERED LOVE (IRE) 4/71.57f
2nd P. Townend silk 34 2. LISTEN DEAR (IRE) 5/23.5
J: M. P. Walsh  
4 ran. NRs: 4 


1st Jamie Hamilton silk 7. SKYHILL (IRE) 10/34.33jf
2nd Mr Philip Armson silk 4 6. MAX O (IRE) 8/19
All 7 ran.


1st Bridget Andrews silk 5. MABELA 5/16
2nd Ben Jones silk nk 6. RUNASIMI RIVER 11/43.75f
3rd Shane Quinlan silk 8. SOLSTALLA 12/113
T: Dan Skelton  
8 ran. NRs: 3 
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