Affaire D’Honneur bids for Imperial Cup glory at Sandown

Unlucky Betfair Hurdle fourth Affaire D’Honneur is one of 28 entries for Saturday’s Imperial Cup at Sandown.

Affaire D’Honneur bids for Imperial Cup glory at Sandown

It was the second year in succession a Harry Whittington-trained horse had been unfortunate in the big Newbury handicap, after Arzal 12 months previously.

Whittington soon set his sights on this prize with a handicap mark of 133 not guaranteeing a run in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham and the French import is likely to be towards the head of the betting.

“We’ll have to make it third time lucky in the Betfair. That’s racing, you’ve just got to smile and move on,” said Whittington “There’s a big entry and at this stage it looks like it could be a stronger race than usual.

“With a mark of 133 we couldn’t be sure of a run at Cheltenham and I wouldn’t want to miss this and the County Hurdle. He’s very well, we’ll just hope for a bit more luck.”

Oliver Sherwood’s likeable Rayvin Black, second last year, has been given an entry and would be top weight if he runs.

The sole Irish interest could come from Willie Mullins’ Clondaw Warrior, part-owned by Ruby Walsh’s wife, Gillian. He is 7-1 joint-favourite alongside Affaire D’Honneur with Paddy Power.

Paul Nicholls has entered the novices Marracudja and La Prezien, while Martin Keighley has entered his prolific winner Solstice Star.

Paul Webber’s Gwafa, two from three over hurdles to date, David Pipe’s Starchitect and last year’s winner Ebony Express are also among the possibles.

The race has previously carried a bonus for any horse who managed to win it and a race at the Cheltenham Festival, but as of yesterday Sandown executives were still talking to possible sponsors.

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