Nicky Henderson has won the Ladbrokes Trophy, formerly known as the Hennessy, three times since 2005, which fills me with confidence going into Saturday’s big race.

I am on Nicky’s Vyta Du Roc, who was fancied for the Newbury showpiece 12 months ago when finishing sixth.

He sneaks in here off a 3lb lower mark, carrying 10st 1lb, which is ideal for what are sure to be very testing conditions.

He has stamina in abundance and was only beaten a head in the Bet365 Gold Cup over three miles and five furlongs in April, so the more of a test the better.

He had a spin over hurdles at Aintree last month, and his stablemate Top Notch showed how he benefitted from having a pipe-opener over hurdles when winning at Ascot last weekend.

Nicky reported Vyta Du Roc in “brilliant form” earlier in the week and he clearly deserves to be one of the leading fancies. I am very happy to be on him.

One who could run well at a big price is Carole’s Destrier, who was only beaten half a length in the race last year, when it was his first outing of the season.

Again he makes his seasonal debut in the race, and while he is 6lb higher, it doesn’t look a massive rise to overcome and he could easily hit a place at around 25-1.

I singled out Fountains Windfall in the column last week and he makes a quick reappearance in the Ladbrokes John Francome Novices' Chase.

He won a valuable Grade 3 handicap hurdle by eight lengths over an extended three miles at Aintree in April and has always been highly regarded by the Anthony Honeyball stable.

His debut over fences at Southwell was most impressive. Aside from one early error, he was very slick over his fences and the further he went the more he extended. He’s up to almost three miles here which will be in his favour.

It’s a step up in grade but he’s second best on official ratings and I think he will run really well. I do like him.

Doesyourdogbite, who runs in the Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle, has been a victim of his own success. He won three on the spin at the end of last year and has found himself at the wrong end of the handicap.

He is now back to 130, having been as high as 138, and seems very happy at home but it’s going to be a tough task to bounce back in such a competitive handicap.

My other ride is Festive Affair, who is also at the wrong end of the handicap, having won two decent handicaps at Ludlow and Uttoxeter in the summer. He’s won at Newbury before, but I just think he needs to come down the weights a bit more before I can talk with any real confidence about him.

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