Imperial Cup Day | Jonjo Has the Thing at Sandown

Imperial Cup

It’s the final weekend before the Cheltenham Festival which means the Imperial Cup headlines action on our screens today.

Alongside the £100,000 feature, there is the valuable EBF Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Final and other interesting contests to try and find an angle into.

After last week’s success with the column, let’s begin.


1:50 Sandown – Hasthing @ 10/3 with William Hill – 2pt Win

Embed from Getty Images

As much as I try to find ways around favourites in general, there’s a good chance that a mark of 119 makes Hasthing very well-handicapped.

For starters, he gave Pic Roc six pounds at Catterick two starts ago and beat him snugly at the line.

Both are clashing against each other on handicap debut today, though it’s Jamie Snowden’s novice that is carrying four pounds extra.

Hasthing also has Graded form in the book thanks to his third in the Grade 2 Aintree Bumper at the Grand National meeting.

The winner, Florida Dreams, is rated 129, the second, Blizzard Of Oz, has won twice since, and even the fifth, Masaccio, is rated 129.

If he can put his last run behind him then Jonjo O’Neill Jnr has a serious chance of swooping up the £45,016 winning pot for connections.


2:25 Sandown – Lively Citizen @ 28/1 with William Hill – 0.5 EW

Embed from Getty Images

Plenty could go well in the Imperial Cup at Sandown, that’s for sure, but my each-way play into the contest is Lively Citizen who finished second in the 2022 renewal.

He raced off 121 that day and ran into Surprise Package who went on to finish second in State Man’s County Hurdle.

This year, DJ Jeffries’ stable star has a mark of 113 with Harry Atkins in the saddle to claim a valuable seven pounds.

Although he has been inconsistent since that Imperial Cup second, his last two runs have provided plenty of promise and he gets his preferred soft ground today.

Lively Citizen is a horse I love, so hopefully he can outrun his odds in a hot handicap.


4:10 Sandown – Castle Robin @ 5/1 with William Hill – 1pt EW

Embed from Getty Images

Charlie Longsdon has always rated Castle Robin in high regard and today looks like a good chance to return to the winners’ enclosure.

Rated 132, two pounds below his last winning mark, the nine-year-old is one-from-one at Sandown.

The form of his fourth in the 2022 Edinburgh Gin Chase looks good as Sounds Russian went on to run well in the 2023 Cotswold Chase and Eva’s Oskar won at Cheltenham two starts later.

Furthermore, his first start of the season at Doncaster was promising as the winner, Forward Plan, has since won the Coral Trophy Handicap Chase and the third, Twoshotsoftequila, has won twice since.

With a run under his belt last month to blow the cobwebs away, he should go well here.


4:40 Sandown – Es Perfecto @ 7/4 with William Hill – 2pt Win

Embed from Getty Images

Finally, in the last at Sandown, I’m throwing another lifeline to Es Perfecto who is slowly becoming a cliff horse of mine.

Having backed him at Kempton and Cheltenham on his last two starts, he ran with credit on both occasions behind some nice horses including Blow You Wad, a subsequent Grade 2 winner, and Ginny’s Destiny, the current Turners favourite.

Looking through the form book, the nine-year-old has run some nice races on better ground and is a little bit untested on softer conditions.

Although the official going at Sandown is good to soft, the track tends to ride a little bit slower, but his pedigree (a Shirocco half-brother to No Ordinary Joe) should offer hope to him going well in most ground.

Off 123, I think he is better than this mark and hopefully, he can be too good for these.

Live Horse Racing Odds

Welcome Back!

Login to your account below

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.