Malabar_Horse Racing

Bidourey The Imperial Master At Sandown

Sandown’s Imperial Cup on Saturday provides a great opportunity for punters to grab some spending money for Cheltenham next week, and the man many may trust to do the job is trainer, David Pipe.

Another Cup For Pipe?
Pipe has followed in his father’s steps in terms of winning Saturday’s big race, as Martin scooped it on four occasions from 1998-2005, prior to son David landing it three times since. One of those occasions was 12 months ago, and Pipe looks to have lined one up to follow-up that victory via Bidourey.

Punters have certainly latched onto this improving 4yo, who is 5/1 for Saturday having remained undefeated in five career outings, including two minor novices this year. The last of those was a massively impressive victory by 15l over Saturday’s C&D three weeks ago when he barely came off the bridle. He relished the mud that day, which bodes well for the weekend as Sandown is currently heavy.

Pipe also has Heath Hunter at 14/1, an 8yo who also arrives having won last time out, which came in a handicap at Ffos Las in January (2m, heavy). The drop back to 2m triggered a career best that day, suggesting Heath Hunter should not be ignored.

Nicholls The Danger
Close on Pipe’s heels is Paul Nicholls with Calipto (9/1), who was placed in a Grade 1 at Aintree last spring, prior to a creditable fourth (of 23) in the valuable Betfair Hurdle at Newbury last month (2m, soft). This 5yo came with a late run that day and will enjoy the testing hill and ground at Sandown this weekend.

Also amongst the leading fancies is 10/1 shot, Arzal, who was just under 2l behind Calipto at Newbury, but may have finished closer but for being hampered. That career best sixth place suggests there is more to come, and he represents value being from the less distinguished Harry Whittington yard.

Weight Matters
Camping Ground is also 10/1 having won a 2m4f handicap chase at Warwick last month from a mark of 145, and is set to lump top weight off 150 on Saturday. A winner over hurdles in France, he has stamina and will like the ground, but will have to defy recent history to overcome such a big weight…

Trends Summary

Of the last 10 Imperial Cup winners…

10 carried 10st13lb or less (8%) – others were 0-73
8 returned 12/1 or shorter (13%) – others were 2-141 (1%)
8 were 4-6yo’s (7%) – others were 2-89 (2%)
7 had 0-2 career handicap runs 99%) – others were 3-123 (2%)
6 arrived via Cheltenham, Ludlow or Sandown
D Pipe won it three times

Retrieve (10/1) would be interesting if getting into the race from a low weight and won a classy Listed handicap at Musselburgh last month, while of the bigger prices, Twentytwo’s Taken (16/1) is another of David Pipe’s who is an unexposed novice and should be respected if scrapping in the bottom of the handicap.

Recommended Bets
Big weights have proven difficult to carry in this competitive handicap over the last 10 years, but David Pipe has cannily got Bidourey in off a weight of 10st8lb, which may prove to be very lenient come Saturday afternoon.