Rory Delargy has three lay bets for Matchbook Imperial Cup Day at Sandown.
13:20 – Get Switched On With Matchbook Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
A few potential improvers here, but I can’t see Katpoli coping as well with the ground as some of his rivals, having run poorly on very soft ground on his second start for Guy Cherel. He looked a good prospect when winning on his debut for Gary Moore at Huntingdon, but hasn’t built on that since. He does look like he will prove best right-handed having tended to hang at Cheltenham, but didn’t offer much at Wincanton last time when favourite for a novice hurdle, and he may be one to have temperament reservations about based on that showing.
The Knot Is Tied looks the likeliest winner, but I can see both Glenpark and Le Milos – the latter out of useful staying hurdler/chaser Banjaxed Girl – improving on earlier form, and I fancy Katpoli will be out of the frame under his big weight.
Recommended: Lay Katpoli for a place @ 2.5 to win 10pts [max liability 15pts]
13:50 – EBF Matchbook VIP ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Final
The ground is once again a serious issue for some of these, and none more so than favourite One For Rosie, who has gained his wins on good ground, and is by a sire in Getaway who has a much better record with his progeny on a sound surface. Getaway’s stock have a 30% strike rate on good to firm ground, but that falls to 8% on soft and heavy, and One For Rosie’s only poor run to date came on the only occasion he’s faced soft going. He beat Arkle favourite Glen Forsa over hurdles at Carlisle in November, but that form is very misleading with the runner-up having improved out of all recognition since.
His defeat at that track in December can be put down in part to late mistakes, but he did not look as effective on the softer surface and predictably bounced back at Warwick when showing a good turn of foot on a sounder surface.
He will need stamina in abundance for this and may have it hidden in his armoury, but this is a very different test altogether, and he is facing a field replete with progressive horses, so there is a good angle to oppose him for the place in such a deep contest.
Recommended: Lay One For Rosie for a place @ 3.0 or shorter to win 7.5pts [max liability 15pts]
14:25 Matchbook Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle
Dream du Grand Val looks the weakest of the market leaders in this valuable contest, and I don’t think he merits his handicap rating. He was a workmanlike winner of a weakly-contested handicap hurdle at Fontwell prior to landing the odds in novice company at Kelso but looked quite hard work both times, and I rate at least six of these as more likely winners on form alone.
His jumping has been sketchy at both Fontwell and Kelso, and he needs to improve all round to win this prize, something which is not reflected in his odds.
Recommended: Lay Dream du Grand Val for a place @ 3.0 or shorter to win 7.5pts [max liability 15pts]
While your regular host Tom Stanley is away, Donn McClean takes the hot seat and is joined by Rory Delargy and Matchbook’s Micheál Deasy to preview the Matchbook Imperial Cup.