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Irving team seek Imperial Cup boost at Sandown

Sandown’s Imperial Cup card may be slightly overshadowed by the impending Cheltenham festival but it still has some top quality racing on offer. The feature race could still have an impact on the Cheltenham betting with several County Hurdle entries in a strong line-up at 3.15.

Regal Encore carries the famous emerald green and gold of JP McManus and looks well treated following the exploits of Hexham conqueror Seeyouatmidnight. That horse has gone on to win a Grade 2 race at Haydock and Regal Encore is strongly fancied to win here.

There is also plenty of confidence behind Vibrato Valtat who won with plenty in hand at Exeter last time out. He was only beaten a length and a half by Vaniteux here in December and the winner is expected to take his chance in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on Tuesday.

David Pipe is doubly represented with Swing Bowler heading the weights after her fifth place in the Betfair Hurdle. Tom Scudamore has elected to partner easy Ludlow winner Baltimore Rock who will relish the testing ground.

The supporting card includes a Grade 3 novices’ handicap hurdle which has attracted a particularly strong field. Pipe also has a strong hand here with top weight Doctor Harper and Wincanton winner Knight Of Noir.

The latter was particularly impressive last time, cruising to the front at the last before easing clear to win by six lengths. Philip Hobbs has a leading contender in Horizontal Speed who powered to victory by a staggering 41 lengths at Taunton.

He looks a chaser in the making so anything he achieves this season is a bonus. Tony McCoy partners Gone Too Far for Alan King and Donald McCain’s Classic Move is on a hat-trick.

Brother Brian beat Tistory at Newbury and the runner-up franked the form in no uncertain terms last weekend. Caesar Milan battled bravely to win last time and Goohar picked up strongly to get back up at Haydock.

Selections: 1.30 Rayak, 2.05 Brother Brian, 2.40 Kasbadali, 3.15 Vibrato Valtat, 3.50 Side Step, 4.25 Sound Investment, 5.00 Hit The Headlines