A look at the Imperial Cup and a few to note for the Cheltenham Festival

Imperial Cup Tips: A bumper field bid for glory at Sandown on Saturday.
Imperial Cup Tips: A bumper field bid for glory at Sandown on Saturday.

Our resident columnist Tanya Stevenson takes an in-depth look at the Imperial Cup at Sandown, and picks out a couple of eye-catchers for the Cheltenham Festival...

Tanya's Imperial Cup Tip

Leoncavallo at 8/1 with bet365

Ready to go Bonus Hunting?  I already think last week’s bet365 Morebattle Hurdle winner, The Shunter, has every chance to scoop a big pot courtesy of following up at Cheltenham wherever connections decide to go.  Put that one on my Festival selection lists.  Now on the eve of the four days attentions are turned to Sandown and the Imperial Cup.  This year it is looking a shadow of its former self and many will be honing in on the obvious.  Natural History is a well-bred flat performer who is unexposed over hurdles.  He is trained by Gary Moore who since 1996 has had 22 runners in the Imperial Cup resulting in four thirds and two seconds, one of those thirds back in 2012 was none other than Sire de Grugy.  Natural History isn’t as good as him yet as that mighty performer won a Grade 2 on his fifth hurdle race.  

Natural History appeals to most on potential, the weight differential between him and some more exposed and established types see him head the market, remember though the last winning favourite of this race was Qaspal in 2010.  That said seven favourites have won in the last 20 years with the most open renewal 2011 where they bet 7-1 the field, nothing like that here.

If Natural History won it would be highly unlikely that he’d get into the County Hurdle for the bonus, so this race can be considered his main target.

He carries 10-12 and over the last 30 years only five horse have carried 11-0 or more to victory.  Miranda, Diego Du Charmil, Fransham, Leoncavallo, Highway One O Two, Mick Maestro and Malaya may have and added burden.  Particularly Miranda under top weight as Blowing Wind in 1998 is the only horse to carry top weight since Lanzarote in 1973!

Cheltenham Festival Tips

Another plus for Natural History and Langer Dan is ten of the last 14 winners had run no more than eight times over hurdles.  I believe Dan and Harry Skelton are going to have a great Cheltenham Festival, particularly on the first day.  Both Allmankind who looked spectacular on his schooling on Twitter and Roksana who I thought ought to run in the Stayers’ Hurdle, she is that good.  Instead, though she is off to regain her 2019 crown in the Mares’ Hurdle.  I digress.

Dan Skelton has Langer Dan in the Imperial Cup who has already attained a valiant and respectable sixth at last year’s Cheltenham Festival in the Boodles Juvenile Hurdle.  Since then he hasn’t lived up to that run in three starts this season.  I’ve reviewed his latest Market Rasen effort in February, it was better but not as eye-catching as reported.   He still has to reverse form with Miss Heritage and Mick Maestro.  And that’s the issue the majority have interwoven form with each other and its hard to extract them away from a particular link which makes their chances fragile at best.  At least with Natural History he is fresh, he has flat speed and potential and a weight that a big run seems inevitable.

There was a time that an entry from Martin Pipe or more recently David Pipe meant it would be shoe-horned into favouritism with immediacy, they became the Punter’s Pal in this race and between them they are the only trainers whose horses have gone on to claim the bonus.  Martin did it with Olympian and Blowing Wind.  David with the last mare to win Gaspara.  David Pipe has had six favourites for the race, with three of those going on to win and his 17 runners have produced three winners, two seconds, a third and a fourth.  Today he has Eamon An Cnoic and Leoncavallo.  

Now seeing that I have focused my attentions on Leoncavallo to win the last race at the Festival it would figure he would be my selection here.  He is not the normal stereotype for the race, he is well exposed, he has plenty of weight but he is class and he isn’t tainted with the recent form of the rivals.  He has run in plenty of graded races and been to three Cheltenham Festivals, best finish fifth in the 2015 Triumph.  He has though had a good rest and is proven to go well fresh.  

Last time we saw him he gallantly trying to kick on from the front with Not So Sleepy in the Cesarewitch, in the end he finished sixth, a mighty fair effort.  His latest exploits over hurdles was back in November 2019 when he finished fourth to Not So Sleepy conceding 21lb to that rival.  He has since won over the bigger obstacles in July last year but it is intriguing an opportunity is sort here with the history of the Pipe’s the bonus and the Imperial Cup.  Could Leoncavallo call the tune for a perfect Pipe ten.  I hope so.

Imperial Cup
Leoncavallo silk


Cheltenham Festival Races
Advert Disclaimer
Horseracing.net is a free online resource which endeavour to provide helpful and useful content and odds comparison to its visitors. Please be advised that Horseracing.net accepts affiliate commission from the companies appearing on the site, and agreed commission levels impact the location and order in which the companies (and/or their products) are presented on the website. Any ratings that appear on this site is determined by our subjective opinion of the brand but also based on market share and reputation, each brand's conversion rates, commission paid to us and general consumer interest. Company listings on this page don't imply our endorsement. We do not feature all providers on the market. Except as expressly set forth in our terms and conditions, all statements and warranties regarding the information presented on this page are disclaimed. The information, including odds, which appear on this site is subject to change at any time.

Bet £10 Get £20 + £10 Casino Bonus

#AD New UK customers (Excluding NI) mobile only. £30 in FREE Bets (FB) as £20 in sports bets & a £10 casino bonus (CB). Min stake £10. Min odds Evs. FB applied on 1st settlement of any qualifying bet. FB 7 day expiry. 1 FB offer per customer, household & IP address only. Payment restrictions. 14 days to accept £10 CB, then active for 3 days. CB 5x wagering & max redeemable £100. Game restrictions apply. Cashed out/Free Bets won’t apply. 30 days to qualify. 18+. T&Cs apply
Bet £19 get £66 in Free Bets
#AD New customers on mobile only. Stake min amount of £19 (odds 1.8 or greater) on any sporting event. Promotion available between 14/11/22 - 01/12/22. Max 4 x £10, 4 x £5, 1x £6 Free Bets credited on qualifying bet settlement on selected events. 1x claim per customer. Void, cashed out, partially cashed-out bets do not qualify. Each Way bets, system bets, and profit boosts are not permitted for qualifying bet. Free bets expire after 7 days of qualifying bet settlement. T&C’s Apply
Double the odds, any sport, any bet, any odds!
#AD 18+ begambleaware.org Only valid for new registrations to Grosvenor Existing members do not qualify, Bet must be placed using real money in combination with the Odds Boost Token, Offer applies to Sport bets only. Max stake is £10. Each way bets are a maximum of £5 each way (£10 total). Customers have 60 days after registration to use the Odds Boost token. T&Cs apply.
Bet £20 & Get it Back As CASH If It Loses
#AD New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any Horse Racing market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using cards will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply.
Welcome Offer
#AD Bet £10 & Get £50 in Free Bets for new customers at bet365. Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. The bonus code SPTS365 can be used during registration, but does not change the offer amount in any way.
Bet £10 Get £30 In Free Bets
#AD 18+. Play Safe. New customers using Promo code R30 only, Min £10/€10 stake,  min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 3 x £10/€10, free bets credited after settlement of first qualifying bet, free bets will expire 30 days after the qualifying bet is placed, payment method/player/country restrictions apply.
Bet £20 & Get it Back As CASH If It Loses
#AD 18+ begambleaware.org Max £20 refund on first bet. Bet must be placed in first 7 days of account opening. Only deposits made via Debit Card will be eligible for the promotion. T&Cs apply.  
Bet £10 Get £60 in Bonuses
#AD New UK customers only. Register using the promo code BETFRED60, deposit and place first bet of £10+ on Sports (cumulative Evens+) within 7 days of registration. First bet must be on Sports. £20 in Free Bets to be used on Sports, £10 in Free Bets to be used on Lotto and 50 Free Spins (20p per spin) credited within 48 hours of bet settlement. Further £20 in Free Bets credited 5 days after settlement. Bonuses have a 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS verification and/or Proof of I.D and address may be required. Full T&Cs apply.
Bet £10 Get £30 Free Bets (APP Only)
#AD New UK, IE & Malta customers only. 18+. Min £10/€10 first deposit using Debit Card or Trustly. Place a bet of £10 at min odds of 1.5. Free bets expire in 90 days. Full T&Cs apply.
Bet £10 Get £30 Free Bets + £10 Casino Bonus
#AD Minimum deposit of £10 using deposit code 30F - A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 placed on any sports market - Minimum odds of 1/2 (1.5) - Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days - Free bet stakes not included in returns - Casino Bonus must be claimed within 7 days • To withdraw bonus/related wins, wager bonus amount x40 within 14 days • Wagering req. vary by game • Withdrawal restrictions and Full T&C’s apply. 18+ begambleaware.org
Bet £10 Get £30 Free Bets
#AD Offer includes a free £1 Race Index spread bet to try out our exciting 50-25-10 race markets. Place a £10 fixed odds bet at minimum odds of 1/2. Get 2 x £10 free fixed odds bets + 2 x £5 free Winning Favourites spread bets. Bet with live streaming on all racing and greyhounds! Ts&Cs Apply. 18+ begambleaware.org
£35 Free Bet + 10 Free Spins
If your account has Sportsbook losses at the end of your first day's betting, QuinnBet will refund 50% of your losses as a Free Bet up to £35 (min 3 bets) Plus 10 Free Spins. Even if your account is up, you're guaranteed a £5 Free Bet Plus 10 Free Spins provided you place at least 1 bet of £10 or greater at the minimum odds. T&Cs apply | 18+ New UK Customers Only | BeGambleAware.org
50% Up To £50 Welcome Bonus
#AD 18+ begambleaware.org; New bettors get 50% of deposit up to £50; Once per household; Min deposit £15 (no Skrill/Neteller); Wager a total of 8 times deposit + bonus, with max qualifying bet stake equal to your initial bonus amount; Bonus expires after 60 days; Min odds of 4/5 on singles, or 2/5 per leg for acca; Some bet types excluded; See full terms.
Latest racing results
1stCrystal Guard
2ndInternational Law
2ndVitesse Du Son
1stKing Of Conquest
2ndCourt Of Session
View All Today's Results