Imperial Cup Day Betting Tips – Sandown

Imperial Cup Day Betting Tips – Sandown


With the Cheltenham Festival only a matter of days away, the Imperial Cup Day at Sandown Park is the perfect day to whet the appetite.

Some former winners of the big prize have gone on to win at The Festival a week on, including Blowing Wind in 1998, who went on to land the County Hurdle, and Gaspara in 2007 who went on to win the Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle.

Adrian Wall provides his analysis on the big race as well as some other selections at Sandown's big meeting, where they race from 1.15-4.40, with the Imperial Cup itself due off at 2.25.



2.25 – Betfair Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle (2m)

This year’s renewal of the Imperial Cup is a wide-open betting heat, but no horse has carried more than 11st 3lb to victory in the last 19 years, and if that trend continues the top eight horses in the handicap have it all to do.

With that in mind, it might pay to look at those in the bottom half of the handicap, and there's no doubt trainer Ben Pauling has extremely strong credentials with two live chances in the contest.

The first of those worth a mention is Bad, who came there swinging off the bridle in a good handicap at Ascot last month, only to be worried out of it in the closing stages by the winner, Mothill.

Bad should be more than capable of hitting the frame again but his attitude in the closing stages has to be a worry when he is eyeballed. That leaves the door open for his stablemate JIPCOT, who should take all the beating in the hands of Kielan Woods.

A Listed winner over hurdles when trained in France, the five-year-old broke his duck in Britain at the sixth attempt when bolting up in a Huntingdon handicap over two-miles last Sunday on his seasonal return after a spell chasing.

Pitched straight into the Triumph Hurdle on his first start for the yard last season, Jipcot was clearly highly regarded, and he still looks very well treated off a mark of 124 turned out quickly.

SELECTION: JIPCOT

NEXT BEST: BAD

1.50 – European Breeders' Fund Betfair 'National Hunt' Novices' Handicap Hurdle Final (2m4f)

Right before the Imperial Cup, punters have a competitive novices' handicap to look forward to, and it's a race where I'm keen on the pair of Nigel Twiston-Davies runners at juicy prices.

HIGH TREASON is very interesting. The son of Kayf Tara is lightly raced, and he started out life under Rules with a good second to the talented Southoftheborder in a Ffos Las bumper last March.

He had a wind operation before his seasonal return and finally got off the mark at Fontwell when making all in a 2m3f novice hurdle last month on heavy ground. His jumping could improve but he hit the line strong so this stiffer track could be a major help.

Many might be put off by the fact he only beat three rivals on the day, but Twiston-Davies won this race with 28/1 surprise winner Beauport in 2021, so High Treason is not to be underestimated.

Stablemate Tedley is also worth a brief mention. He beat the well fancied Goonhilly at Wincanton when last seen and although he looks more exposed than many of his rivals in the race, a mark of 116 seems fair.

SELECTION: HIGH TREASON

NEXT BEST: TEDLEY

3.00 – British Stallion Studs EBF Mares' Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Listed, 2m)

Won by some classy mares in the past, including Swincombe Flame and Luccia, a classy enough sort typically wins this contest and it's another Ben Pauling runner who is of interest in the form of MAGICAL ANNIE.

The daughter of Jukebox Jury got off the mark at the first time of asking when landing a Galway bumper on heavy ground last October when trained by Barry Fitzgerald.

She thoroughly enjoyed the stiff uphill finish on the day, coming from mid-division to storm up the hill late on, and Sandown is also right-handed with a stiff uphill finish so the track should suit.

Magical Annie was sent off favourite for a Listed bumper at Doncaster on her British debut, but she was given a more forceful ride on better ground and couldn't go the pace. Back on a stiffer track with a more patient ride in more testing conditions will suit.

The big danger could be Joe Tizzard's Sunset Marquesa, who won an Aintree bumper on soft ground on debut in October before running well in a pair of Listed bumpers at Cheltenham and Market Rasen.

SELECTION: MAGICAL ANNIE

NEXT BEST SUNSET MARQUESA

3.35 – Betfair Serial Winners Fund Novices' Handicap Chase (2m4f)

Trainer Gary Moore has a good record around Sandown and he won this handicap chase with Hudson De Grugy last season. He has two solid chances in the contest this year and the best of those could be INVINCIBLE NAO.

A winner over hurdles when trained in France, it took him a while to warm to his surroundings in Britain but he finally got off the mark at the tenth time of asking when winning over fences at Fakenham over 2m5f last month.

This is a very keen-going sort, and his jumping left a lot to be desired on the day too, but despite doing a lot wrong he proved he had a big engine when making all and going on to score by 14-lengths.

The fences at Sandown will be a good deal tougher which is a slight concern, but if he can get into a good rhythm in front, there's every chance he could be well ahead of his current mark still.

Stablemate Kotmask arrives here in search of a hat-trick of victories after good wins here at this track and at Plumpton. He's up another 5lb in the weights which could leave him vulnerable, but he should still run a big race.

SELECTION: INVISIBLE NAO

NEXT BEST: KOTMASK


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