The usual prequel to next week’s madness takes place at Sandown this afternoon at 2.25 with the Paddy Power Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle.

A maximum field of 22 is due to take part and the market is headed by the Nicky Henderson trained Balco Coastal at 9-2.

On the strength of its form in Novice events, this 6-y-o looks well in for its handicap debut off a mark of 134, so we start our portfolio with an each way bet on this one.

Unsurprisingly there are dangers galore and we nominate Hystery Bere and Monviel for each way bets at 15-2 and 33-1 respectively.

Finally, we also suggest a win bet on Lucky One from the Skelton operation, as it could be a plot.

Televised action starts with the 17 runner Paddy Power Novices’ Handicap Hurdle at 1.50 and we go two against the field for this one, starting with Dubrovnik Harry at 9-1.

Harry Fry‘s charge took on ‘monster’ proportions after winning its second hurdles run by 25 lengths before being turned over at 1-3 under a penalty at Leicester.

We think esteemed trainer was delighted to be given a mark of 125 (that’s the horse, not HF) and has aimed at today ever since.

Just 3 lengths behind DH at Leicester was the Skelton‘s Jet Plane, which, taking into account riders’ allowances, is now 11lbs better off, so, at a juicy 22-1 we’ll throw in an each way bet on this one as well.

We swerve the ‘Bumper’ at 3.00 and go to the Paddy Power Novices’ Handicap Chase at 3.35, in which we are firmly on the side of Scene Not Herd at 11-4.

Charlie Longsdon‘s 7-y-o has been a revelation since going chasing, completing a hat-trick with quick and impressive jumping. That’s ideal for this track and it can get all the others at it from some way out. Let’s have a decent win bet.

Cameras are also at Wolverhampton for three races, starting with the Betway Handicap at 1.31.

Our pick in this 6f sprint is the consistent Whittle Le Woods, which is available at 6-1. Mick Appleby‘s 4-y-o will appreciate the stiff six here and should at least give us a run.

The MansionBet Lincoln Trial Handicap at 2.05 is a bit of a fierce looking affair, but we think backing Hafeet Alain to win at 7-2 and Bless Him each way at 8-1 is the way to go – so we will.

Finally the MansionBet Lady Wulfruna Stakes at 2.40, which features the course specialist Misty Grey, which has a course record of 4-4 and a rating to match. At 7-2 it’s crying out to be backed and an additional each way bet on John Quinn‘s Highfield Princess completes the job.

That’s it – back on Tuesday with a detailed analysis of the Selling Hurdle at Sedgefield.


Balco Coastal 2.25 Sandown 1.5pts e/w @ 9-2 (7 places Skybet/Hills)

Hystery Bere 2.25 Sandown 1pt e/w @ 15-2 (7 places Skybet/Hills)

Monviel 2.25 Sandown 0.75pts e/w @ 33-1 (7 places Skybet/Hills)

Lucky One 2.25 Sandown 2pts win @ 6-1

Dubrovnik Harry 1.50 Sandown 1.5pts e/w @ 9-1 (5 places)

Jet Plane 1.50 Sandown 1pt e/w @ 22-1 (5 places)

Scene Not Herd 3.35 Sandown 3pts win @ 11-4

Whittle Le Woods 1.31 Wolverhampton 1pt e/w @ 6-1

Hafeet Alain 2.05 Wolverhampton 2pts win @ 7-2

Bless Him 2.05 Wolverhampton 1pt e/w @ 8-1 (4 places)

Misty Grey 2.40 Wolverhampton 2pts win @ 7-2

Highfield Princess 2.40 Wolverhampton 1pt e/w @ 7-1 (4 places Hills/Skybet)

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