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ITV Racing Tips: Time for Onemorefortheroad before attention turns to Cheltenham

| 11.03.2022

For some race fans, attention will already be on next week’s Cheltenham Festival with the declarations for the first day of the meeting set to be published on Sunday.

Yet there is some decent racing still to get through first, not least Sandown’s Imperial Cup meeting, the traditional weekend curtain-raiser to next week’s jumps fest. A maximum 22-runner field will line up for the two-mile hurdle feature which offers a bonus to the winner if he or she goes on to win at Cheltenham.

Although it has been done in the past, that has now become a much taller order as just getting into a Festival handicap race is a challenge in itself. So, winning the Imperial Cup may have to do.

It is the focal point of a busy Saturday which also features the EBF Final and Flat racing from Wolverhampton which stages the Lincoln Trial, a little appetiser for the start of the Turf season later this month.

A seven-race card comprises four from Sandown and three from Wolverhampton. Coverage begins on ITV4 from 13:10 and we have previewed the three most significant races of the day in our ITV Racing Tips.

13:50 EBF Handicap Hurdle Final

A big field for this competitive contest in which Knappers Hill, sixth when strongly fancied for the Betfair Hurdle, will be among the favourites alongside Thunder Rock, the winner of his last three.

Dubrovnik Harry, a narrowly beaten favourite at Leicester after a wide margin victory at Exeter, also boasts solid claims. But if he can go well, so too can Jet Plane, who appears to be far too big a price at 40-1.

He was third in Dubrovnik Harry’s last race, only three and a half lengths away from that rival at level weights, and now meets him in receipt of 8lb and if you add Tristan Durrell’s 7lb claim the difference is 15lb. He is surely each-way value.

14:05 Lincoln Trial Handicap

Although billed as the Lincoln Trial, this contest bears little resemblance to the handicap staged over Doncaster’s straight mile on turf in two week’s time.

There are some holding Lincoln entries in the field, including La Tahity, winner of four out of five starts for Roger Varian.

He gained his latest win over Hafeet Alain but the second has since recorded a stylish victory at Lingfield and meets La Tahity with a small weight advantage this time. Hafeet Alain can make that count.

14:25 Imperial Cup

A maximum field with a favourite, Balco Coastal, who has won three of his five starts. The novice is Grade 2-placed and has entries at Cheltenham next week which could be tempting if he triumphs.

Plenty will like his chances but there are plenty in here with that profile. Onemorefortheroad was being pointed at the Betfair Hurdle and had been a notable market mover in the lead-up. He has a record of five wins from his last seven starts over hurdles, but a minor setback kept him out of the valuable Newbury contest and he comes here instead.

He is very highly rated by his trainer Neil King and this could be his chance to earn a decent consolation prize.

ITV Racing Schedule, Saturday, 12th March

13:31 Wolverhampton – 6f handicap

13:50 Sandown – EBF Final

14:05 Wolverhampton – Lincoln Trial

14:25 Sandown – Imperial Cup

14:40 Wolverhampton – Lady Wulfruna Stakes

15:00 Sandown – EBF Mares’ Bumper

15:35 Sandown – 2m4f novices’ handicap chase

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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Author

Jonathan Lees