Whispers surround Pipe’s chances of an Imperial Cup Cheltenham Festival Double with his entries Swing Bowler and Baltimore Rock

In seasons’ past the Pond House yard has farmed the Imperial Cup Cheltenham Festival double and will look do so again with either the classy Swing Bowler or improving Baltimore Rock.

Conor O’Farrell who takes the ride on Swing Bowler has told Festival preview goers that he is very sweet on the chances of the mare.  Priced at around 6/1 for success in the Imperial Cup she holds entries in both the Mares and County Hurdle next week. The fifth placed gained on her return at Newbury has alerted connections to her credible chances of landing a valuable double and another coup for the Pipe’s.  In her way will be stablemate Baltimore Rock who comes to the race off the back of a win at Ludlow and is entered to make the County Hurdle line up on Friday.

Swing Bowler’s greatest dangers are most likely to be Imperial Cup Festival double seeking Regal Encore and Harristown. Regal Encore had been many punters idea of the race winner for a while now, alongside being labelled as a handicap good thing for the Festival. Harristown’s trainer Charlie Longsden won the race with Paintball in 2012 and aims to double up with a declaration in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham for his novice.

Over in Dubai the card at Meydan looks worthy of a top European summer festival with the likes of Shea Shea, Soft Falling Rain and Mars being amongst the runners.

Crockford’s Dead Cert – Hitchens (Wolverhampton 4.40)

This Group Three winning sprinter has the class to see off his rivals now that he is back in handicap company. With Luke Dempsey claiming seven, the nine-year-old will be very difficult to beat in what is a weak contest.

Crockford’s Whisper – Swing Bowler e/w (Sandown – Imperial Cup 3.15)

The strong whisper that has surrounded the form of this mare has to be respected. Fifth in her return in the Betfair Hurdle last month at Newbury she is well placed to take the Imperial Cup on her way to the Cheltenham Festival.

Archer’s Selection – Soft Falling Rain (Meydan 2.25)

Archer would have not missed the ability of this De Kock five year old and would have insisted on taking the ride at the horse’s favoured Meydan. Soft Falling Rain will return to winning ways.

Crockford’s Gambles on Imperial Cup day:

Sandown – Carry on Sydney (1.30), Ceasar Milan e/w and Doctor Harper e/w (2.05), Soll (2.40), Swing Bowler e/w and Harristown e/w (Imperial Cup 3.15) and Side Step e/w (3.50)

Wolverhampton – Gabriel’s Lad e/w (2.20), Tres Coronas e/w (2.55), Hitchens (4.40) and Quixote (5.15)

Meydan – Emirates Flyer (1.10), Shea Shea (1.45), Soft Falling Rain (2.25), Meandre e/w (3.35) and Mars e/w (4.45)

Gowran – Followuptocarlow e/w (4.10) and Quel Esprit (5.20)

Chepstow –  Consigliere (3.55) and Bendant (5.05)

Ayr – Fentara (4.15)


(Featured Photograph – David Pipe and Alastair Down at Cheltenham by Stuart Rice)

Pipe's whisper