Scottish Daily Mail

Con­di­tions look right for star of Fes­ti­val

- By SAM TURNER Bri­tain’s No 1 tipster Sports · Horse Racing · Cheltenham

DAVID BRIDG­WA­TER has punched above his weight through­out his train­ing ca­reer and THE CON­DI­TIONAL (New­bury, 3.00) is taken to strike in to­day’s Lad­brokes Tro­phy. The Glouces­ter­shire trainer has a se­ri­ous tal­ent on his hands, judged by the strides his eight-year-old geld­ing made in some of the most com­pet­i­tive stay­ing hand­i­cap chases last season. Quietly backed at big prices to win a Chel­tenham hand­i­cap last Oc­to­ber, The Con­di­tional bounced out of that race a month later to fin­ish an hon­ourable run­ner-up to De Rasher Counter in last year’s re­newal of to­day’s fea­ture. The se­lec­tion trav­elled like the best horse dur­ing that race, but nar­rowly failed to over­haul the win­ner, with a rare mis­take at the fi­nal fence halt­ing his mo­men­tum and chal­lenge. He went on to prove those per­for­mances were no fluke with an­other solid ef­fort in the Clas­sic Chase at War­wick, where he again trav­elled pow­er­fully but did not quite last home over the marathon trip in test­ing con­di­tions. A drop in trip and a re­turn to Chel­tenham worked in March, though, as reg­u­lar jockey Bren­dan Pow­ell en­joyed an arm­chair ride aboard his im­prov­ing part­ner when run­ning out a snug win­ner from Kild­is­art in the Ul­tima Hand­i­cap Chase. Ad­mit­tedly, there is a chance Bridg­wa­ter’s chaser may not be at his sharpest first time out this year. How­ever, this race has been the plan since that smooth vic­tory at the Fes­ti­val and The Con­di­tional makes plenty of ap­peal, given his abil­ity to han­dle big fields and ex­pe­ri­ence of the venue.

 ??  ?? Big chance: Bridg­wa­ter
Big chance: Bridg­wa­ter

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