Tomorrow’s Listed Imperial Cup at Sandown has been farmed by the Pipe family in recent years. Martin won it six times between 1989 and 2005 and his son David had back-to-back successes in 2007 and 2008.
Tanerko Emery and Kazlian are David’s two representatives for the two-mile 110 yard handicap contest but, even with Kieron Edgar's claim taking 7lb off Tanerko Emery’s top weight burden of 11st 12lb, the gelding will have to defy recent trends that have seen no winner shoulder more than 11st since Korelo in 2003.
That’s also not good news for Mr Mole, current favourite, who carries 11st 6lb, but he will have the assistance of AP McCoy, who has won this race five times.
Mr Mole’s trainer Paul Nicholls has yet to gain a success in this race, though.
Scorned at nine was the oldest runner to triumph in the last ten renewals and eight of the remaining winners in that time were between four and six.
Tanerko Emery is seven.
Favourites have a decent record considering how competitive the race typically is, winning five of the last ten. But there have also been victors at 12/1, 14/1 and 20/1 in that time.
Qaspal, Ashkazar and Korelo were the three winners in the last decade to have previously registered a Sandown win.
Last year’s winner Paintball, Tanerko Emery, Claret Cloak and Tominator are the four horses in the field who have won at the course before.
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls is likely to see Nicky Henderson once again sweep all before him at the Cheltenham Festival starting on Tuesday 12th March, but Nicholls has a decent chance to take tomorrow’s feature, the Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury (3.50pm).
Nicholls saddles joint favourite The Knoxs and Pacha Du Polder in a bid to win this Grade Three handicap chase for the sixth time in the last eight runnings.
Only three favourites have won in the last nine runnings and all of them have been trained by Nicholls. Four winners have been at double figures prices including Horus, who dead heated with Cornish Sett, at 22/1 in 2006.
No victor has carried more than the 11st 5lb that Madison Du Berlais shouldered to victory in 2007 since 2004. That would seemingly rule out Big Fella Thanks and Ballabriggs.
Horus is the only horse that has won this contest at an age older than eight in this time frame. That would appear to rule out eight runners from tomorrow’s field.
Five eight-year-olds have won in the nine years and it may pay to have a look at Saved By John, the only charge in the field that fits this trend.
The powerhouse stables of Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson have won the last five runnings of Sandown’s Tolworth Hurdle and, while Nicholls has no runners declared for the Grade One contest at 2.25pm, Henderson again holds strong claims.
The master from Seven Barrows runs the unexposed Royal Boy and the hat-trick seeking Golden Hoof with the handler looking to make it three wins in a row.
Run over two miles and half a furlong, the Tolworth is open to novice hurdlers. Since 1988 only two four-year-olds have won.
Six of those to win since 2000 (2009 and 2010 runnings were abandoned due to frost) were five years old. Pendra, Golden Hoof and Le Reve meet this statistic.
Barry Geraghty rides Royal Boy as he seeks to make it three wins in a row also. Both Henderson’s other two winners were either having only their first or second start for the yard when they won this race, so inexperience isn’t necessarily an issue for this horse.
The last five winners had only won once before over hurdles which is a positive for Poet and Melodic Rendezvous.
Since 2000, Marcel in 2005 was the only horse to have won more than three races before landing the Tolworth.
The two-mile Tingle Creek at Sandown is one of the most eagerly anticipated races of the jumps reason as it provides the fantastic spectacle of seeing top-class chasers jumping at real speed.
Unlike some of the three-mile slogs, this shorter test is all about speed and, in Sprinter Sacre, Nicky Henderson might have a horse with the pace and agility to be remembered as the best of them.
Last season Sprinter Sacre became the highest-rated novice chaser of all time after winning all five of his starts over fences with consummate ease and increasing superiority. He is already a warm favourite for the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and a long odds on shot for tomorrow’s contest.
Kauto Star is the only six-year-old to win the race in the last ten renewals, so many may consider that a negative for Sprinter Sacre but his main rival, Sanctuaire, is also only six.
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has dominated this race in recent times with six straight wins from 2005-2010 as well as two others in 1999 and 2001. He saddles Sanctuaire and Doeslessthanme.
Ruby Walsh has ridden three winners of this Grade One contest and will be aboard Sanctuaire. His Irish compatriot Barry Geragthy will be aboard Sprinter Sacre and can boast two previous victories.
Of the six different winners in the last ten years, only Kauto Star in 2005 won the race having not previously won over the two-mile trip or previously posted a win in Grade One company.
Only Sprinter Sacre has posted a top-level success over either hurdles or fences so the rest of the field - Sanctuaire, Doeslessthanme, Kumbeshwar, His Excellency, Idarah and Kinkeel – do look up against it.
The Hennessy Gold Cup is one of the biggest betting races of the National Hunt calendar and the showpiece at Newbury promises to be another cracker tomorrow.
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has won this three-mile-two-and-a-half-furlong contest five times – twice as a jockey and three times as a handler. He most famously saddled the brilliant Denman, who defied top weight twice in 2007 and 2009 to land the prize.
Tidal Bay is one of two Nicholls’ entries this year, along with Harry The Viking, and the enigmatic 11-year-old will be out to emulate his former stablemate by carrying a burden of 11st 12lb to victory under Ruby Walsh.
There are no real weight trends to give us an edge. Trabolgan is another horse to have won off top weight and those towards the bottom of the handicap have been just as successful.
However, no horse since 1981 has been over nine years old so that would appear to count against Tidal Bay, Lion Na Bearnai and Roberto Goldback.
Four seven-year-olds have landed the Hennessy in the last ten years which is a positive for favourite Bobs Worth, First Lieutenant and Magnanimity.
Only one of the last ten winners had won at a distance equal to or further than tomorrow’s trip, Gingembre back in 2002. Only Ikorodu Road is a runner, excluding the two previous winners, Diamond Harry and Carruthers, which has won at the distance previously.
The four most recent winners had all been victorious at Newbury before, which is another positive for Bobs Worth, Alfie Spinner, Duke Of Lucca, The Package and Ikorodu Road.