Friday, March 06, 2009

Imperial Cup Day at Sandown

The Imperial Cup, a two mile listed hurdle race, is the feature at Sandown tomorrow with twenty one set to face the starter. A £75,000 bonus payment is up for grabs if the winner then goes on to take any race at Cheltenham next week, so it's all to play for. In recent years the Pipe stable has regularly chased this coveted double, being successful on three occasions with Olympian (1993), Blowing Wind (1998) and Gaspra (2007). David Pipe has whittled down his original five entries at the five day declaration stage to two, Mr Thriller and Seven Is My Number; stable jockey Tom Scudamore rides Mr Thriller, the well-touted 11/4 favourite. I'm going to pass over both Pipe runners because, in the case of Mr Thriller, I'm not keen on four year olds giving weight away to most of their older, battle-hardened rivals in an event such as this while, in the case of Seven Is My Number, I still harbour painful memories of watching this horse being hammered in a Newbury bumper on admittedly desperate ground just over two years ago. Numide is bound to be popular but, with Cheltenham just around the corner, I much prefer a small each-way bet on an outsider. European Dream ran well enough last time behind Carrickboy on ground softer than ideal and over a trip that probably stretched the stamina at Market Rasen. The stiff two miles on better going here should suit - the selection is priced up generally at 33/1.

As I hinted above, for me and many others I suspect, every year this Saturday is the calm before the storm of the Festival - I'm trying to 'keep my powder dry' but might be tempted to oppose form pick Deep Purple in the novice chase if he's priced up favourite as the Evan Williams yard is currently going through a lean spell. Restless D'Artaix is famous for having given McCoy his 3,000th winner but Geraghty is in the plate today while McCoy rides Song Of Songs. On RP ratings Song Of Songs has something to find with the Henderson horse but if I indulge I'll go with McCoy's mount.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

A Dream horse won the Imperial Cup but I'm afraid it was 12/1 shot Dave's Dream who collected very easily indeed. European Dream (20/1) made a mistake at the third and unseated his rider when travelling well enough in mid-divsion; all rather frustrating really... Immediately after the race Dave's Dream was installed favourite for Friday's County Hurdle but in the interview trainer Nicky Henderson gave to Channel Four I was left with the impression that, although the bonus is tempting, NH would prefer to give his charge a rest and have something to look forward to another day. Seven Is My Number (7/2f) met trouble in running so did well to finish second but he doesn't look an easy ride. Mr Thriller (6/1) ran a very respectable race to finish fourth but Numide (5/1) didn't get into it and finished twelfth.
Song Of Songs opened 11/10 favourite and was sent off 10/11f, so no bet for me. The horse showed a nice turn of foot after the last to beat Deep Purple (15/8) one and a quarter lengths. I'll keep an eye out for what connections are planning - this one is certainly worth an entry in the notebook.
A quick mention for 'tweet' horse What A Buzz who was backed from 28/1 into 16s on course - he ran a blinder, jumping the last in front and staying on to take third behind Big Eared Fran (13/2) and Bakbenscher (5/1). The winner may turn out at the Festival next week.