Imperial Cup – Key Trends & Free Tips

The Weekend Bulletin (Sat 9th March)

The wait is nearly over with just one more weekend before this year’s Cheltenham Festival and the Insiders Club has just released its brand new Members Report which wraps up the comprehensive coverage of the 4 days of action at Prestbury Park. In this latest edition Alex Peperell and Alan Dudman take us through their final selections after months of deliberations during the build up. To complement the pre Festival content our resident Big Race Guru, Nick Hardman, will be providing his selections for all 4 days of the pulsating action. You can find out more here.

Of course the main focus is on the Festival but there is some decent racing to consider prior to the big event including a cracking card at Sandown on Saturday and the feature Handicap is the Matchbook Imperial Cup and this prestigious race was given the trends treatment by Nick for the latest Members Report. Here is a summary of his findings:-

Matchbook Imperial Cup (2m Grade 3 Handicap hurdle) Sandown 2.25pm

The Pipe stable have farmed this race in recent years with Martin (4 wins) and David (3 wins) combining for 7 wins since 1997 and Extra Mag is due to represent the yard this time around.

Seven winning favourites have obliged since 1997 (30% win rate) and 16 of the winners in that time came from the top 6 in the betting and with the exception of trends buster Ebony Express, all the winners since 1997 came from the top 10 horses in the betting, including our 20/1 winners. We have also seen placed horses at 66/1, 33/1 and 25/1 in recent years.

8 of the last 21 winners had won their previous start and a top 4 four finish LTO looks a strong statistic, accounting for 16 of the last 22 winners. A big weight is a negative in this race with 11 of the last 12 winners carrying under 11st. The OR of the winners has climbed in recent years. From 1997 to 2006 there were 6 winners rated less than 120.  From 2007 onwards, all the winners have rated between 124 and 135.

The last 13 winners had been off the track for at least 16 days. Perhaps the strongest statistic I have uncovered is that 20 of the last 22 winners had won either 1 or 2 hurdle races. If you want to narrow it down further, then those with exactly 2 wins have won 14 of the last 22 renewals. No horse with more than 2 hurdles wins has won this in the last 20 years.

Interestingly, those stepping up in class from class 3 or 4 events LTO have won this race 13 times since 1997. They have double the strike rate of those that contested class 1 and class 2 races LTO.

From an age perspective, this normally goes to something aged 5yo to 7yo (17 of the last 22 winners). Finally, 20 of the last 22 winners had had between 2 to 5 seasonal runs, which is a pretty strong statistic.

So, here is our winners’ profile for the Imperial Cup:

  • Top 10 in the betting
  • Top 4 finish LTO
  • Rated 124 to 135
  • Carrying under 11st
  • Off the track for 16 days or longer
  • 2 – 5 runs in the current season
  • 1 or 2 previous hurdles wins
  • Stepping up from class 3 or class 4
  • Aged 5yo to 7yo

Sat 9th March


Sandown 2.25pm (Update)
One from the Insiders Report and the trends qualifiers are:
Monsieur Le Coq @9/2 Gen (Was 6/1 when posted)
Benny’s Bridge @8/1 Gen
Extra Mag non-runner – Malaya Gen 11/2

Together We Can Win in 2019

Darren & Steve

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