Ebony Express can reign again in Imperial Cup showdown
David Metcalf | March 11, 2016
Ebony Express looks decent value to take advantage of a drop in the weights to land back-to-back successes in the Imperial Cup at Sandown (15.10).
This Dr Richard Newland trained gelding enjoyed a terrific first season over hurdles when winning three times, and in the last of those successes showed a tremendous attitude to land this contest 12 months ago off a mark of 131.
After being driven to take up the running approaching the last, Ebony Express gamely dug deep to come out on top in a battle royale with Rayvin Black and score by 3/4 of a length.
Ebony Express should steam to second Imperial Cup success
The seven-year-old now meets that rival on 19lb better terms, and the form of the race has a very strong look to it.
Camping Ground, who finished fourth, has gone to to land a Grade 2 contest and is a lively outsider for the Champion Hurdle and the fifth home, Thistlecrack, has developed into a top class Grade 1 performer who is a red-hot favourite for the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival next week.
Although Ebony Express comes into this year’s renewal having failed to sparkle in four starts, that has resulted in a drop in the weights.
The son of Superior Premium is now able to race off a reduced rating of 130, 1lb lower than when winning last year, and that gives him major claims from a handicapping perspective.
It’s also interesting that connections are now fitting Ebony Express with cheekpieces and a tongue-tie for the first time so, if they have the desired effect, he looks weighted to run a huge race.
Mosspark is plenty appealing
In the 3m handicap chase (14.35), Mosspark can build on a promising reappearance run to land the spoils.
This Emma Lavelle trained gelding won his first three starts over hurdles in 2014/14 style of an above average performer before being pulled-up in the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival.
The eight-year-old was then off the track for 225 days before making his chasing debut last October and shaped with bags of promise to finish third of six to Sausalito Sunrise at Chepstow.
Sausalito Sunrise is a useful sort who is now rated 163, and Mosspark finished nine lengths in front of Sego Success, who is rated rated 139. That is strong form and makes Mosspark’s current mark of 129 look very exploitable.
Mosspark also comes into the race having caught the eye when fifth to Aloomoo at Newbury and, if building on that, holds every chance of scoring an overdue success.
14.00: Two Taffs
15.10: Ebony Express (NAP)
15.45: Copper Kay
16.20: Dormello Mo
16.55: Minella Reception