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Master Of Arts can lay down Cheltenham marker at Imperial Cup

| 09.03.2012

At 5/1, Master Of Arts may not be favourite for the Paddy Power Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle this afternoon but there is plenty to suggest he has what it takes to claim a win – not least the record of his trainer.

While Martin Pipe may have an incredible record in the Imperial Cup, winning the pre-Cheltenham race six times, his son David – who trains Master Of Arts – also has a brilliant pedigree, winning the race twice.

There is a £75,000 bonus for any horse who triumphs here and then goes on to win at Cheltenham and the Pipes are the only trainers ever to achieve the feat.

They’ve done it three times in total and, despite not running over hurdles since a disappointing finish in the 2009 Triumph Hurdle, the seven-year-old should not be discounted – especially as he comfortably won his only other hurdles race.

Meanwhile, favourite for the race is the Paul Nicholls-trained Ted Spread who is in at 7/2 to come home as the winner.

He won over this distance last time out but has a 15lbs ratings increase to overcome if he is to add to his impressive win at the Taunton Handicap.

There are bigger concerns for Nicholls though, with Kauto Star now looking in great shape for the Gold Cup on Friday.

The two-time Gold Cup champion had a fall in training last week but has recovered well and looks set to be fully fit and perfectly prepared for Friday’s showpiece event.

He is still 4/1 to win the race though, with the impressive defending champion Long Run holding favouritism at 6/4.



Richard Anderson