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Imperial Cup: Timeform’s runner-by-runner guide

Imperial Cup
14:25 Sandown, Saturday
Live on ITV4

1. Miranda (Paul Nicholls/ Ben Bromley (7))
Likeable mare who showed an excellent attitude when scoring at Ludlow. Below-par second in the Yorkshire Rose Mares’ Hurdle at Doncaster but she’s the sort to bounce back.

2. Samarrive (Paul Nicholls/ Harry Cobden)
Gained his third win in a listed handicap over course and distance but has been off the track since being pulled up in an Ascot handicap later in December. Worth another chance after his break.

3. Onemorefortheroad (Neil King/ Jack Quinlan)
Bagged his third win of the season when making all at Newbury. Finished an excellent second at Ascot since, so this likeable type is well in the mix after being nudged up just 1 lb.

4. Surprise Package (Peter Fahey/ James Bowen)
Without a win since last April but he arrives in good nick, finishing ninth of 27 in a competitive handicap hurdle at Leopardstown last month. This Irish raider is shortlisted.

5. Mick Maestro (Nick Kent/ Charlie Hammond)
Arrives in search of a hat-trick after registering back-to-back wins at Catterick, scoring readily over 2m last time. Up another 7 lb but not taken lightly in his current mood.

6. Balco Coastal (Nicky Henderson/ Nico de Boinville)
Improving hurdler who landed 2m novice hurdles at Huntingdon and Ludlow before finishing an excellent second in the Grade 2 Classic Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham last time. Goes into handicaps on a good mark and is a player.

SBK9/2

EXC6.4

Trainer: Nicky Henderson
Jockey: Nico de Boinville
Age: 6
Weight: 11st 0lbs
OR: 134

7. Hacker des Places (Paul Nicholls/ Angus Cheleda (5))
French import who got back to winning ways in a five-runner handicap at Chepstow two weeks ago. Up 4 lb now but he’s no forlorn hope.

8. Up For Parol (Jamie Snowden/ Gavin Sheehan)
Progressive sort who scored at Haydock and posted another excellent effort when a clear third in a two-and-a-half-mile handicap at Wetherby three weeks ago. Remains one to be interested in.

9. Calico (Dan Skelton/ Mr Tristan Durrell (7))
Useful novice who won twice last term and shaped well when third at Hereford on his chasing bow in January. Respected back in this sphere after a break.

10. Transatlantic (Gary Moore/ Josh Moore)
Fairly useful ex-French Flat/hurdle performer. In excellent hands, so he’s worth a second look on his handicap/yard debut.

11. Hystery Bere (Tom Symonds/ Aidan Coleman)
Has taken his form up a notch this term, scoring at Fontwell before a strong-finishing third in a 2m handicap at Cheltenham in January. Should progress further and holds claims.

SBK6/1

EXC10

Trainer: Tom Symonds
Jockey: Aidan Coleman
Age: 5
Weight: 10st 10lbs
OR: 130

12. Zambezi Fix (Bernard Llewellyn/ Sean Bowen)
Without a win since March 2020, but he arrives in excellent nick and was a good third at Taunton last month. In the picture once more.

13. Current Mood (Evan Williams/ Isabel Williams (3))
Resumed winning ways in a 2m novice hurdle at Chepstow last month. Still low mileage, so she needs considering now going into handicaps.

14. Howdyalikemenow (Evan Williams/ Adam Wedge)
Has been much improved for this yard, winning three times, but finished only tenth in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury last month. Needs to get back on track.

15. Mr Grey Sky (Kim Bailey/ David Bass)
Lightly-raced eight-year-old who arrives here in search of a hat-trick after all-the-way wins at Leciester and Ludlow. This is tougher, but he has more to offer and shouldn’t be underestimated.

16. Lucky One (Dan Skelton/ Harry Skelton)
Ended his time with Paul Nicholls on a low note, but he strongly hinted at a revival for his current yard when third in an Ascot handicap three weeks ago. Interesting off a much-reduced mark now.

SBK6/1

EXC9.6

Trainer: Dan Skelton
Jockey: Harry Skelton
Age: 7
Weight: 10st 5lbs
OR: 125

17. Kihavah (Adrian Keatley/ Kevin Brogan (3))
Has been much improved of late, scoring over 2m at Newcastle and Musselburgh. Strong traveller, who is much respected back in handicap company.

18. Lebowski (Michael Scudamore/ Richard Patrick)
Looked promising when easily winning 2m novice hurdles at Ffos Las and Ayr in November but was pulled up in the Grade 2 Rossington Main at Haydock in January. Worth another chance on his handicap bow.

19. Hydroplane (Ian Williams/ Charlie Todd (3))
Regained winning ways over course and distance in January but was reportedly struck into when ninth in a handicap at Cheltenham last time. Sort to bounce back.

20. Lively Citizen (David Jeffreys/ Archie Bellamy (7))
Likeable and consistent sort who comes here on the back of gutsy win in a 2m handicap at Leicester last month. Not ruled out despite taking a 4 lb rise.

21. Monviel (Philip Hobbs/ Tom O’Brien)
Has progressed with each of his three runs over hurdles and was successful in a maiden at Wincanton and a novice over course and distance. Open to further progress now handicapping and is one to consider.

SBK33/1

EXC36

Trainer: Philip Hobbs
Jockey: Tom O’Brien
Age: 5
Weight: 10st 1lbs
OR: 121

22. Grisbi de Berce (Alan King/ Jonathan Burke)
Low-mileage six-year-old who was set a lot to do when a good fourth in a 2m handicap at Kempton in January. No forlorn hope off an easing mark after his break.

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