All of the past ten winners of Sandown’s Imperial Cup have carried less than 11 stone. That is a very strong statistic and one that we shall not try and beat in the 2015 renewal. However, today’s race is more like a limited handicap if we take out top weight Camping Ground with just 14lbs between the remaining 23 runners. The prevailing winds are most welcome drying up the soft ground all the time which will suit both our selections.
Some Buckle ran a cracking race when beaten just a short head by Glingerburn at Doncaster in January. Both horses competed off level weights in that race! Glingerburn as those who follow my eye catchers know has won the Morebattle Hurdle and a Grade 2 Hurdle at Kelso since franking that form in no uncertain manner. Glingerburn has shot up the ratings to 152 and that must leave some scope for improvement from Some Buckle off 135. Some Buckle enjoyed a good run at Cheltenham last time out which might have been a “sighter” for things to come next week.
There is a 100k bonus for the winner of this race if he goes on to win any race at the Cheltenham Festival. Some Buckle holds entries for the County Hurdle and Martin Pipe conditionals races, both of which take place next Friday, 13th March. It is good planning to target a race on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival as that allows as long as possible for Some Buckle to recover from today’s race if trying to win the 100k bonus.
Some Buckle won his point to point well before being sold for 180k at the Brightwell (Cheltenham) Sales back in November 2013. It’s time Some Buckle earned back some of that hefty price tag for owner Roger Brookhouse. Incidentally, Baltimore Rock who won this same race last season was also owned by Roger. Tom George can train them and Paddy Brennan is a very good and experienced jockey to have on our side.
Our second pick is Chieftain’s Choice to win the Imperial Cup. He fell when travelling nicely up front in the Betfair Hurdle alongside eventual winner Violet Dancer. It was a “novices’ fall” where he stepped/reached at the hurdle and paid the price. His hurdling had been very good in each of his previous three hurdling races. Chieftain’s Choice remains unexposed and his trainer John Quinn knows better than most how to win big handicaps.
The booking of top jockey Noel Fehily is a positive. Noel was well backed to become the new retained rider for JP McManus next season following the retirement of Tony McCoy. Chieftain’s Choice was well backed to win the Betfair Hurdle which leads me to believe he is progressing having just turned 6 years old. Sandown and the stiff finish will suit him fine with hopefully not too hard a duel for the lead up front. Rayvin Black likes to front run but might find the pace too hot on quickening ground. All in all at a big price Chieftain’s Choice is worth backing to bounce back to winning ways.
Most bookies are paying out on the first 5 places so do try and make the most of that valuable bookie concession. The excellent Odds comparison website http://www.oddschecker.com/ can be used to find out which bookies are paying out on the first five places.
Selection A – 1 Point Each Way Some Buckle Sandown 15:10 14/1 Paddy Power & Betfair Sportsbook both paying 5 places else 12/1 generally, use *B.O.G
Selection B – 1 Point Each Way Chieftains Choice Sandown 15:10 16/1 Ladbrokes or William Hill both paying 5 places else 14/1 generally, use *B.O.G
Best of luck,