Home Estate Planning A bit of Bruit force needed in Imperial Cup

A bit of Bruit force needed in Imperial Cup

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WE MIGHT be less than a week away from the Cheltenham Festival, but we’ve still got one last chance to boost the coffers for the biggest week in the jump racing calendar.

Sandown takes centre stage on Saturday with the feature being the incredibly competitive Imperial Cup (2.25pm).

Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden won this race 12 months ago with Iceo and I reckon they could go back-to-back with SANS BRUIT.

The six-year-old was productive when trained in France and even beat Gaelic Warrior by over six lengths at Auteuil in June 2021.

He won several times subsequently before moving to the Nicholls yard where he’s been seen just once.

Sans Bruit was only seventh at Doncaster in late January, but given there was plenty of money for him, you’d have to think connections expected a bit more.

We’re still guessing where a mark of 132 leaves him, but his form in France suggests he’s much better than that and he looks set to get conditions that will suit.

With all the rain around, the ground is going to be soft at the Esher track and that should really play to the Nicholls runner’s strengths.

There’s always a danger at this time of year that horses entered will not pitch up in favour of Cheltenham targets, but looking at Sans Bruit’s entries next week, he’ll likely need to win this to get into the County Hurdle.

Cobden is riding out of his skin at the moment and his mount looks overpriced at 14/1.

As mentioned, it’s a very competitive race and many will fancy Bad to go well for the in-form Ben Pauling yard.

He could still be well-handicapped off a mark of 126, but he’s a horse that tends to run well without winning and he’s short enough at 6/1.

Earlier on the card, ASTA LA PASTA is fancied to go well in the EBF Final (1.50pm).

There isn’t anyone on British shores better at targeting a horse for a handicap hurdle than Dan Skelton and I do wonder if this might have been the plan for a while.

He’s won his last two races over two miles, but everything about his pedigree suggests a step up to 2m4f will suit him down to the ground.

Being related to the likes of Cup Final, a winner over three miles, shows he’ll surely thrive over longer trips, and he should also have no issues with the testing conditions.

Unexposed horses in these big handicaps are often a recipe for success and you’d like to think that Asta La Pasta will turn out to be a fair bit better than his current mark of 124.

If he is, then quotes of 10/1 could look rather generous.

He’s the main selection, but I would be wary of another Nicholls contender in Fire Flyer.

This race was mentioned quite a long time ago as his next target and as we know, Nicholls rarely misses when he aims one for a big race.

He doesn’t look the easiest ride, but if anyone can keep him on the straight and narrow it’s Harry Cobden, and I would be the least bit surprised if money came for him and he went off favourite.

POINTERS                            SATURDAY

Asta La Pasta e/w             1.50pm Sandown

Sans Bruit e/w                   2.25pm Sandown

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