As the biggest week in the National Hunt calendar approaches plotters plan the elusive Imperial Cup Cheltenham Festival Double

When the entries for Saturday’s Imperial Cup were revealed earlier today punters became clearer about the big potential doubles that are on the cards this year.

The plotters of Pond House have a strong record of landing the elusive coup and go to the weekend feature at Sandown with two outstanding chances in the shape of Swing Bowler and Baltimore Rock.

The Pipe trained mare – Swing Bowler – was impressive in her comeback run in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury last month and is hotly fancied to make a bold show in the County Hurdle on the Friday of the Festival. Priced at 7/1 for the Imperial Cup, odds of 16/1 are available for the County Hurdle and 14/1 for the Mares contest.  The whispers are strong from the stable, with jockey Conor O’Farrell really sweet on her chances of a Festival victory.

Last year’s Champion Bumper second, Regal Encore will also be back for more at this year’s Festival. To get in Honeyball’s horse will need the penalty that a win in the Imperial Cup would provide him.

If the bookmakers are right that should not present a problem, as the novice is the current market leader for Saturday’s race at 11/4 and is priced up at 5/1 for the County Hurdle and 7/2 for the Martin Pipe . If the trainer pulls the coup off, it is certain to go down in the annuals of Festival history.

Regal Encore is one of a pair of entries for JP McManus who have the chance to land the Imperial Cup Cheltenham Festival double.  Get Back In Line could also make an appearance in either the County or Martin Pipe Hurdle.

Out of the nineteen horses declared this afternoon for the race, the following have the entries to attempt the Imperial Cup Cheltenham Festival double:

Baltimore Rock (County)

First Avenue (Martin Pipe)

Gassin Golf (Supreme/County/Martin Pipe)

Get Back In Line (County/Martin Pipe)

Harristown (Fred Winter)

Knight Of Pleasure (County)

Lac Fontana (Supreme/Neptune/Coral/County/Martin Pipe)

Little Jon (County/Martin Pipe)

New Year’s Eve (County)

Prompter (Coral/County/Martin Pipe)

Regal Encore (County/Martin Pipe)

Swing Bowler (Mares/County)

The Skyfarmer (County/Martin Pipe)

Vibrato Valtat (County)


(Featured Photograph – Swing Bowler before 2013 Betfair Hurdle by Stuart Rice)


Swing Bowler