Sandown each-way tips: Trends point to Iceo and Hardy Du Seuil in the Imperial Cup

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Up to now I have tended to aim these trends analysis articles at small field races, normally one in which I am not actually having a b-et myself. However, today I am using the same techniques on an 18-runner handicap to demonstrate that the same approach can work in this type of race.

The Imperial Cup used to have a £100,000 bonus for horses that won the race and then won again in any race at Cheltenham the following week.

From memory I think Martin Pipe twice achieved such a momentous double - firstly with Blowing Wind (Imperial Cup and County Hurdle in 1993), and then again with Olympian (Imperial Cup and Coral Cup in 1998), a tremendous feat of training.

The winning trends I have used to narrow the field are as follows:

  • 18/19 - Had won 1-2 times over hurdles before

  • 18/19 - Had raced within the last six weeks

  • 16/19 - Carried 10st-13lb or less

  • 16/19 - Rated 124 or higher

  • 15/19 - Aged six or younger

  • 12/19 - Carried 10st-7lb or less

  • 12/19 - Had hurdling wins over at least 17 furlongs

  • 12/19 - Winners that went onto run at the Cheltenham Festival (1 winner, Gaspara - Fred Winter)

  • 11/19 - Winning distance - 3 ½ lengths or more

  • 10/19 - Finished in the top two last time out

  • 9/19 - Aged four or five years old

  • 9/19 - Returned a double-figure price in the betting

  • 6/19 - Raced at either Cheltenham (2), Sandown (2) or Ascot (2) last time out

  • 6/19 - Won last time out

  • 6/19 - French-bred

Using the above trends I ended up with a shortlist of Djelo, Iceo, Man O Work, Hardy Du Seuil and Salsada, as they did the best on the majority of the top trends.

By using some of the lesser trends I was able to eliminate Djelo and Man O Work, and looking further into the form of the remaining three, I was left with Iceo and Hardy Du Seuil. The reasons I eventually ruled out Salsada is his apparent preference for better ground and his lack of experience at Sandown.

Iceo finished three lengths behind Hardy Du Seuil at Sandown back in January and they had Djelo back in third, but that one disappointed last time out.

That race appears to be shaping up as a fairly decent line of form, and I would expect both Iceo and Hardy Du Seuil to go well again here. In these big handicaps I will often back two in the race, as I got fed up narrowing the field only to select the wrong horse!

Therefore the advice is Iceo and Hardy Du Seuil both each way and hopefully they will get a clear run round, as these big-field handicaps tend to be run at a frenetic pace and can deliver sob stories at the finish.

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