Imperial Cup Preview

By Samantha

Imperial Cup Preview

Attention over the next week will primarily be on the Cheltenham Festival but there is some good racing this weekend to look forward to and, if you’re lucky, get some money in the bank before the big week.

This Saturday’s big race from Sandown Park is the Imperial Cup. Raced over just short of two miles, this renewal of the grade three looks very competitive.

I’m so excited to see First Flow run in this race. He’s one of my ’20 To Watch’ horses and he is making his seasonal debut today. Originally, he was meant to be chasing this season but I think they struggled to get him right and time has ran out. Last season, he won three of his chase starts, including the Supreme Trial (Grade Two), but pulled up in the Supreme. He is a very classy horse but may struggle to overcome his absence.

All Yours has a huge absence of 1026 days and has moved from Paul Nicholls, for whom he won a Grade One Juvenile Hurdle. His last run was second in a novice chase and I guess connections will run him over the larger obstacles next season. He will struggle to overcome the absence but he’s a classy horse and he should go well and win soon.

Monseuir Lecoq is a horse I’m a big fan of also. He has won his last two very nicely, beating Our Merlin. He has barely any weight at 10st exactly and gets on with 7lbs claimer Chester Williams. I really fancied him for the County Hurdle, which I assume he won’t be going to now, but I think he will go very well in this.

Solomon Grey was a very good second in the Lanzarote over two miles five last time out. He has won over a trip like this before and is a leading contender if repeating his effort last time. Storm Rising was looking for a three timer last time when beaten thirteen lengths into ninth in the Greatwood Hurdle (Grade Three) at Cheltenham. He won a big field Handicap at Galway with a different trainer a while ago but may struggle in this.

Speredek has won twice round here over fences and is returning to hurdles after falling last time out. He hasn’t ran over hurdles since November 2017 but he is a two time winner. He’s likely go off in front and may be hard to peg back but some of these seem classier. Totterdown made all to win over course and distance in November but he goes off a career high mark.

Malaya is only five an has won twice including a Listed Juvenile Hurdle and she has runs well over this trip. Extra Mag is also five and was a nice winner of a novice Hurdle on his second start before finishing a good second with a large penalty last time out. His trainer has a very good record in this.

Call Me Lord has a huge weight to carry, a stone more than his nearest rival. He really likes it round here and beat Our Merlin when winning a Handicap round here in January 2018. Since then he won a grade two at this course and he would probably prefer further than this. Stablemate Dream Du Grand Val has only ran five times and has won twice. It is a big step up in grade for him.

Our Merlin won at Wincanton on his third start of this season and then followed in Monsieur Lecoq over this course and distance. He fell on behind Benny’s Bridge last time out and will probably be a big price.

Other larger priced horses are Chti Balko and Pyromaniac. The former hasn’t won since December 2017 in a handicap Hurdle. He was well beaten by Benny’s Bridge last time out and has a bit to find with that horse, who only has to carry 10st compared to the 10st7lbs that Chti Balko has to carry. Benny’s Bridge is still quite lightly raced but got put up 8lbs for his win last time out, which seems fair as he won well when coming up overweight. Pyromaniac is over coming an absence to run in this and has switched trainers since finishing eleventh of twelve at Kilbeggan last time. He has a lot to find with the rest.

Monseuir Lecoq

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