Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with seven to follow on Saturday at Ayr, Sandown and Chepstow. View selections below
Today’s feature card is at Sandown Park and the feature Imperial Cup has been won by David Pipe three times in the last eight years including twelve months ago when Baltimore Rock scored under Tom Scudamore.
Pipe saddled the juveniles Gaspara (went on to win the Fred Winter at Cheltenham under a 4lbs penalty) and Ashkazar (finished runner up at the Festival) to win today’s corresponding race back in 2007 and 2008 respectively and the unbeaten Bidourey (3.10) represents the stable today and looks a solid each way investment at 13/2 five places at BetVictor.
The selection has yet to encounter ground better than soft and the ground is drying out all the time at Sandown but the 8lbs weight-for-age allowance that 4-year-olds receive from their elders sways me towards the Pipe runner. There are any number of dangers with Calipto and Zip Top (McCoy booked) considered the main threats but I would be disappointed if Bidourey didn’t at least run into a place.
Alan King has his string in decent form and the hope is that Ziga Boy (2.35) is over his Ffos Las exertions five weeks ago when he was pulled up on desperate ground over a marathon trip. The selection had previously unseated four out at Newbury when looking sure to play a part in the finish and he has been dropped 2lbs since that effort.
Mosspark continues to frustrate but did show a hint of a return to form at Cheltenham in his first-time visor last time and he should be noted if the market speaks in his favour stepped back up in trip.
There is a fascinating novices’ handicap hurdle with progressive Chidswell coming down from the north but Paul Nicholls’ Great Try (2.05) was impressive at Bangor last time, ought to appreciate the step up in trip and at 10/1 with BetVictor can reward each way support.
At Ayr Quite The Man (2.10) returns from a 700 day lay-off but has gone well fresh in the past and the yard of Malcolm Jefferson are in rude health. The selection is 5lbs higher than when last successful and might need to make his own running, none of his three opponents like to force the pace, but he has always been a horse with plenty of scope and can defy the long absence.
Sir Vinski (2.45) has won two of his four career starts for Nicky Richards and he is likely to find this less competitive than the Sandown event he was beaten 12L back in January. A course & distance winner earlier in the season, when he was reported to have broken a blood vessel, the drying ground is a positive and he looks sure to go close.
King Of The Wolds (3.55) has run poorly on his last couple of starts but that was when the Jefferson string were out of sorts and he is best judged on his three-quarter-length defeat by Presenting Junior back in November over today’s C&D on good to soft ground.
At Chepstow Timesawastin (3.35) can run off a 1lb lower mark than when runner up to leading Festival fancy Ned Stark on his penultimate outing at Newbury and a return to that form would make him very hard to beat for local handler Evan Williams.