Sandown’s Imperial Cup (1500 GMT) has long been the hors d’oeuvre for the forthcoming Cheltenham Festival. Any hope that the field would be enhanced with the re-instigation of a win bonus for any horse taking this race and following up next have been dashed by a fairly weak-looking field of 13.
Sandown’s hurdles course, particularly in soft conditions, can be a real Marmite track, and it is often worth looking for horses with proven course form.
We would love to tip our good friend Phil’s horse, Bigmarte, for friend of the blog and up-and-coming trainer Harry Whittington. These conditions will suit and he has been freshened up after two quick runs around the new year, so has a good each-way chance, as does place-but-not-win specialist Disputed.
The tip, though, has to go to out-and-out Imperial Cup specialist Gassin Golf. He has been placed twice in the race, and is back on a similar handicap rating. His stable is in form, and unlike many, this course and conditions will hold no fear. This is likely to have been his target all season.
Recommendation: Gassin Golf (Sandown, 1500), 8-1 generally available
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Click here for the Daniel Watkins Cheltenham Guide 2017