Imperial Cup Betting Tips – 10th March 2018
This weekend is always a tricky one in the world of horse racing.
Most of the top National Hunt trainers have already got their horses ready for a crack at the Cheltenham Festival which runs the risk of some low quality contests at the meetings taking place on Saturday and Sunday.
However, the sponsors of the Imperial Cup worked a way around this problem. For years they’ve offered a bonus to the owner of any horse who wins the two mile, Grade 3, handicap hurdle and then goes on to win at the Festival.
Current sponsors, Matchbook, have increased the size of that bonus to £100,000 and it’s done the trick. We have a very competitive looking race on our hands at Sandown Park with plenty of opportunity to sniff out some betting value.
Fed up of snow days and box sets? The temperature is rising so get back out there at Sandown this weekend! Join us for Imperial Cup Day on Saturday>> https://t.co/aybOQr7Wfo pic.twitter.com/CACjKX4FKK— Sandown Park (@Sandownpark) March 5, 2018
Past Five Winners
2017 – London Prize, aged 6, ridden by Tom O’Brien, trained by Ian Williams
2016 – Flying Angel, aged 5, ridden by Ryan Hatch, trained by Nigle Twiston-Davies
2015 – Ebony Express, aged 6, ridden by Will Kennedy, trained by Dr Richard Newland
2014 – Baltimore Rock, aged 5, ridden by Tom Scudamore, trained by David Pipe
2013 – First Avenue, aged 8, ridden by Nathan Adams, trained by Laura Mongan
Is It as Simple as Backing the Favourite?
These sort of big field, competitive handicaps are often notoriously difficult to predict. So many factors go into determining the outcome that picking one option is rarely easy.
It could just be a little different with the 2018 Imperial Cup, however.
The current favourite in the betting is Whatswrongwithyou and there’s every chance that the market has called it correctly.
Nicky Henderson’s seven-year-old is lightly raced for a horse of his age but his form this season suggest that only leaves him with room to improve.
Whatswrongwithyou’s reappearance came at Sandown in December. There he was only beaten by one horse, the classy Ainchea, before going on to win each of his last two starts.
He got the better of the odds on favourite, Ok Corral, in a novice hurdle at Newbury and then obliged favourite backers next time out, winning in impressive style at the same course.
Returning to Sandown should pose Whatswrongwithyou with few problems as the forecast suggests the ground will be pretty soft, just as it was for both of his wins at Newbury.
A win in the Imperial Cup would require another top class performance but we think he’s capable of just that at 6/1 with Ladbrokes. If he does do the business, make sure to keep an eye out on Whatswrongwithyou for the Cheltenham Festival where connections have a choice of two races to enter him on Friday.
Back These Two Longer Odds Shots Each-Way
We’re pretty bullish about the chances of the favourite at Sandown but the lack of winning favourites in the Imperial Cup over the last seven years does mean it’s sensible to have a couple of each-way shots as a back up.
The first of these is Friday Night Light at 12/1 with Boylesports.
David Pipe’s stable have a very good record in the Imperial Cup winning it nine times in total and Fright Night Light’s trainer believes the improving five-year-old will be well suited to the expected conditions at Sandown.
The second option to consider is Fidux at 16/1 with Sportingbet.
The five-year-old looked to be a sure thing in running at Sandown in November but ended up unseating his rider. Alan King sent his charge back to Sandown next time where he finished fourth which was a decent return in a competitive race.
Another strong showing at Sandown could see Fidux claim another place at least.