Former Talksport presenter Charlie McCann picks out potential winners at Ayr, Sandown and Wolverhampton as he tries to emulate last week’s four victorious selections.
Imperial Cup Day at Sandown is one of the most eagerly awaited weekends of the year as it means the Cheltenham Festival is almost upon us. For all my Cheltenham selections throughout the week you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter
I was fortunate enough to share a stage with trainer David Pipe on Wednesday and it would be fair to say he wasn’t too upset when I advised him that favourite Aegean Dawn was out of the Imperial Cup today’s big betting race of the day. David saddles top-weight Ronaldo Des Mottes but the booking of Barry Geraghty for Arrayan also in the Pipe yard certainly catches the eye.
Arrayan’s recent winning form has been done on right-handed tracks, so Sandown will suit, and Pipe was quick to point out that he didn’t think his progressive 6-y-o was ground dependent (both wins with plenty of cut). Young conditional Conor O’Farrell fell out the saddle with the race at his mercy at Taunton last time but the horse has been raised another 11lbs for that effort and he is just overlooked.
Do note that there is a £75k bonus for any horse that wins the Imperial Cup and any race at next week’s Festival. Arrayan has two entries for next week including the Martin Pipe conditional jockeys race so if he won today he would be chasing the bonus.
He must have every chance but unless the rains arrive I think he’s vulnerable and with the stable in form I give a chance to Fiulin (3.00) who has not yet fired over hurdles but was top class on the flat and is a sporting selection.
One thing is for sure if you’re having a bet on the Imperial Cup you should place it with as they will refund losing win bets on the 2nd, 3rd, & 4th up to £50 as a free bet for Cheltenham on Tuesday. Note Chandlers will also be betting ¼ odds first 5 on the race.
Via Galilei 8/1
The Betchworth Kid 10/1
Alpine Eagle 16/1
Kangaroo Court 16/1
Tito Bustillo 16/1
Ronaldo Des Mottes 16/1
also have a similar offer on today’s FA Cup ¼ Final match between Man U & Arsenal. They will refund all losing bets up to £50 to be used on Tuesday of the Cheltenham Festival.
The rest of the card at Sandown makes little appeal and I prefer the chances of Cresswell Crusader (3.10) at Chepstow. The selection was, arguably, unlucky not to have won at Lingfield last time and the more rain the better at the Welsh track for the horse who won his bumper here last February.
Voramar Two (3.45) is a favourite of mine and he would be something to bet on if the Philip Hobbs yard were in better form. He hasn’t saddled a winner for a fortnight and although he has had seven horses in the frame two weeks without a winner is a long time for a yard of his stature. He needs a winner ahead of Cheltenham, where he has any number of fancied runners, and the hope is that Voramar Two can go one better than when just touched off by Silver Kate in a better race here back in January.
Lockedinthepocket (4.00 Ayr) is a horse I have always felt would make into a decent chaser and he was going clear when falling at Musselburgh last time. He has been raised 8lbs for that effort and faces a very much inform rival in Work Boy but the hope is the latter helps set the market up for the selection.
There is a very competitive card at Wolverhampton and I like the look of the once-raced First Samurai (5.25) representing the Newmarket yard of David Simcock. He is certainly bred to appreciate an artificial surface and there was much to like about his sole start when he finished 3rd to a couple of Godolphin juveniles at Newmarket back in August.
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