Imperial Cup Preview: Adrian Wall’s Nap runs in the feature race at Sandown

Punters are set for a competitive card at Sandown Racecourse on Saturday, who host the feature race of the day, the Betfair Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle over two miles. Adrian Wall will preview the race below and his best bet of the day on Saturday runs in the race. View our free horse racing tips on the website and why not grab yourself some free bets for Cheltenham next week too while you’re at it!

Trends say look to the bottom half of the handicap

Since way back in 2004, no horse has carried more than 11-3 to victory and if that trend remains in tact, that will rule out the top eight runners in this handicap, which is half the field. It can be easy to get carried away with trends, but this is one that stuck out like a sore thumb and as a result, I have focused on the horses carrying a lowish weight.

After dissecting the race in full, the conclusion is trainer Ben Pauling seemingly has a stranglehold on the contest. The first horse worth a mention is Bad, who has been very frustrating for backers and for connections.

Bad was heavily backed for the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle on British debut last season but he disappointed. He has been backed for some top handicaps since, and travels through his races like a dream. However, anytime he is eyeballed he seems to cave in so questions have to be asked of his attitude.

Jipcot is the Nap of the Day

That leaves JIPCOT, who should be well up to winning this off his current mark. A Listed winner over hurdles when trained in France, he was clearly highly regarded as he ran in last year’s Triumph Hurdle on his first start for Pauling. Things didn’t work out at that level, and he disappointed when sent chasing, but his fortunes changed.

Jipcot was freshened up and had a short break, and he went back over hurdles at Huntingdon last Sunday sporting a tongue tie and a hood. It worked. He absolutely bolted in. Pauling has found the key to him and he remains really well treated. I think he wins the Imperial Cup.

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