Imperial Cup at Sandown

Photo :
It was great to see OPENING BATSMAN run back to some form last time I did the blog and a 20-1 second wasn't a bad tip at all!
The festival is on the horizon and I'm sure like me you'll all be counting down the sleeps and starting to look at the form. I've got quite a few in the notebook ready to go and hopefully it will be another profitable week. Whatever happens it will, as always, be one hell of a spectacle. The weather appears to be warming up so watch out for those good ground horses at long last getting their ground!! It's been a while coming! I'll hopefully manage to get a blog done every night with a write up for every race! Bring it on!
On to today and here are my four :
I flagged this mare up last time she ran on here and she did it very well. I think there is a lot more to come from her and she will be one for the festival next year. Dickie Johnson thinks she's the best mare he's ever sat on, a pretty good indictment. She got seriously hindered in this last year but has really come on since then. She will be too good for these despite giving weight all round, her stablemate may be the danger!
Normally this race goes to one of the horses who is in the first few in the betting, I cant see that trend changing today. My selection won well last time at Towcester and comes here as an improving type, with only a 3lb rise for the last success. I think there is more to come and interestingly Dickie chooses this one over the stablemate, who he has a good relationship with that one's owners. This must have a better chance. If the ground was better I'd be finding it difficult to split ALCALA and CHIC THEATRE but I dont think they'll be involved with it being this soft.
CLAYTON 3.10 SANDOWN (treble)
Was a decnt flat horse and got to a mark of OR104 in that sphere. He has slowly but surely started to improve and understand what is required over obstacles. He has two good runs behind him on testing ground and gets in here off a feather weight. He receiving nearly two stones off RAYVIN BLACK and will ground like this and the speed of the race that will count in his favour. The pace should suit his flat speed and I expect to see him burst through towards the end.
I don't normally venture to Ireland but this mare went into my notebook on the off chance last year. She is slowly getting what is required and race well, but well behind CASHEARD LADY last time. That one went on to be second behind LIMINI next time who's the hot favourite for one of the mares races at the festival. That is decent form and with the ground being testing again, I'm hoping today is finally the day for her to lose her maiden tag.
My dad's selections are :
Father – £94.34
Son +£2.96

Paddy Power Day

Photo by Martin Lynch : Racing Post photos
I really do love this meeting at Cheltenham, it's the official kick start of thr NH season for me. All of our old favourites and the new pretenders to the throne are out and it will be a fascinating day of racing. My old man gave the blog a winner with NABUCCO the other week, as I continue to misfire! I hoping for a change of fortune today. Sit back and enjoy a cracking day!
Here are the selections for today :
This guy keeps on improving and the blinkers have really helped. He has been raised a further 8lbs after his comforrable Market Rasen success. He travels well in his races and will appreciate the quick pace of this race I'm sure. His trainer was rather confident of his chances earlier in the week too. He moves like he will love this test and despite him now playimg with the big boys I think there is further improvement in him. Sound Investment is my other one in this, he just keeps giving and he could be the fly in the ointment! What a fab race in prospect!
Has always been a decent animal and had two wins from two when joining the Pipe string. He beat REBEL REBELLION at Exeter over three miles on good to soft and that horse franked the form with a win next time. Soll did too beating RELAX again, despite a 4lb pull. He was all geared up for the National and managed a creditable ninth with a broken blood vessel. A sound jumper normally and a smooth mover, I expecting a big show with at least a place.
SO FINE 1500 CHELTENHAM (treble)
This fella has a decent record around here and despite his long lay off he has a great chance at a huge price! He will enjoy the decent ground and he stays very well. He was on my tracker for last year but was injured and he stays on my tracker this year. He'll definitely come on for the run but I think he has a great chance of outstaying them up the hill.
This horse is well bred and related the smart Copper Bleu. She has two decent succeses sandwiched between a creditable fourth in Sandown's Listed race. She comes here with a run and a smooth victory in the bag and I'm expecting more from her.
My Dad's selections are :
Father +£10.61
Son -£0.32


So, the final blog before the festival! Cant wait for Tuesday and I will be doing a blog every day for the festival. I will make sure I post the blog the night before for everyone to have a read – I hopeful of a few winners. I've picked out a few who I fancy – HOLYWELL (of course!), POLLY PEACHUM, MA FILLUELE being a couple. Before I start the serious study we have the Imperial Cup to tackle today and a few decent races at Wolverhampton. If my four come in today I will have a right kitty for the week, they are decent prices and I expect good runs! Thanks to Fran (@Riosrider) for the photo for the blog again. Below is the #twittergamble for the boys, we'll do one of these for each day of the festival too.
@Tonythetyke – WHISTLE DIXIE 1545 SANDOWN
@Liamkenniford – AIGLE DE LA SEE 1400 SANDOWN
Here are my selections :
GASSIN GOLF 1510 SANDOWN (nap) (3rd – 25-1 = £15.62)
Came second in this last year and is 11lbs higher than that today. I'm putting a line through his last run at Ascot in the Ladbroke, he never got in the race and was rightly pulled up. Interestingly despite how terrible that run was the handicapper hasn't reduced his mark, he knows he's a better horse than that as do I! Dickie Johnson rides him and he wouldn't be on him if he didn't think he had a sniff. Dickie's record on him is 2,2,3,4,2,2. He was a decent horse on the flat for Sir Mark Prescott and he's a horse I've tracked. He has a race like this in him! He has yet to score over hurdles but I do think he's smart and the better ground will help today. I'm expecting a big run!

CHIDSWELL 1400 SANDOWN (nb) (unplaced = -£5.00)
Has been performing consistently well and is very interesting on his handicap debut. His trainer also has a decent record with handicap debutants. He has been beaten twice in novice events, the last one was a decent contest and he was beaten by a smart sort in CLEAN SHEET. Who on the back of that has beengiven a mark of OR135. He could run a big race at a good price.

AL THAKIRA 1415 WOLVERHAMPTON (treble) (3rd – 4-1 = £2.50)
She has decent form at 7f and ran well on a few occasions last year. She needs to be ridden patiently and she may need a bit of luck. She has the proven class in the race and has a good record fresh. I think she will have too much for these today.

COPPER KAY 1545 SANDOWN (Unplaced = -£5.00)
This is hot little race and a lot of money is going on the top two. My selection justified favouritism last time at Warwick in a nice little contest and there will be more to come from her. The form hasn't been franked but I liked what I saw that day and think she will run well at a decent price.
My Dad's selections are:
AS DE MEE 1400 SANDOWN (WON 8-1 = £25.00)
WHISTLE DIXIE 1545 SANDOWN (unplaced = -£5.00)
MELVIN THE GRATE 1450 WOLVERHAMPTON (unplaced = -£5.00)
Father 8-7 Son
Father -£42.64
Son £158.61