The Pipes are the masters of pulling off the Imperial Cup Festival double. This weekend’s renewal of the race at Sandown throws up a number of interesting double chances no more intriguing than that of Master of Arts for Pipe (Imperial/County Hurdle). His current odds rate the chance of another coup being 5/1 for the Imperial and 10/1 for the County.
However, Nicholls can not be overlooked fielding Hinterland and the useful Ted Spread. The later Ted Spread being a very high class convert from the flat having been a runner in both the Derby and Ebor. Ted Spread holds a number of Festival entries and his odds of 4/1 for Saturday and 7-9/1 for the Festival win could provide the real chance. My fears though are a hard race at Sandown could spoil the double when he comes up against other contenders such as recent winners like Bourne or Balgarry at the Festival (depending on his final declaration).
Other eye catching possibilities include; Pateese, Starluck, Lucaindubai, Celtus, Sire de Grugy and Red Merlin. There is no doubt that this is a quality renewal of the pre-Cheltenham curtain raiser.
Crockford will give his final deliberations on Saturday.