Turf Talk: Call Me Lord can strike it rich in ‘the Matchbook’ at Sandown

Trainer Nicky Henderson. PIC: Steven Parsons/PA Wire
Trainer Nicky Henderson. PIC: Steven Parsons/PA Wire
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Call Me Lord can tee up a potential £100,000 bonus bid by winning the Matchbook Imperial Cup at Sandown.

The huge cash prize traditionally associated with this race will be won if any successful horse can follow up at the Cheltenham Festival next month. And in Call Me Lord, trainer Nicky Henderson would appear to have a perfect foil with which to go for the double.

Trainer William Haggas. PIC: Mike Egerton/PA Wire

Trainer William Haggas. PIC: Mike Egerton/PA Wire

The five-year-old must carry top weight in the Imperial Cup, but he is a pretty resilient animal with a touch of quality. Yet perhaps the biggest thing going for him is his love of Sandown, which can be a challenging old place with the wrong horse.

Call Me Lord is unbeaten in two starts at the Esher venue and looked especially full of himself over this two-mile trip in January when he won a valuable two-mile handicap hurdle by three and a quarter lengths.

Another important factor from that accomplished victory was the fact it was achieved in very deep ground. That he has no worries about running through mud cannot be downplayed as things are likely to become pretty demanding at Sandown if the forecast is correct.

Call Me Lord’s recent outing in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton, when a solid third to Champion Hurdle contenders Elgin and Ch’tibello, also tends to suggest he is a shade better than a handicapper as that was only his fourth start for Henderson since his transfer from France.

Expect his County Hurdle odds to be significantly shorter if he does what is expected of him.

There is also plenty of meat on the bone for Flat fans and it could be beneficial to throw a few bob the way of William Haggas’ key runners.

Original Choice can firstly take the sunbets.co.uk Lincoln Trial at Wolverhampton. The four-year-old gelding won nicely at this track last April – his sole all-weather run – and went on to enjoy a profitable summer.

Original Choice has not run for quite a while, but he won before after a lengthy absence and has a lovely profile for a race like this.

Stablemate Second Thought should also go well in the Lady Wulfruna Stakes.

The four-year-old colt, who finished runner-up to Harry Angel last May, had the time of his life over a mile at Kempton last November when he won a Listed race by half a length from Keystroke.

Second Thought has plenty of boot so this return to seven furlongs will be of little consequence.

Just for good measure, it would be folly to allow the Haggas-trained Dal Harraild to go unbacked in the fast-track qualifier at Chelmsford.

The five-year-old stayer could be primed for a most productive campaign and is, by quite some distance, the most interesting horse in this field.


AYR: 2.10 Better Getalong, 2.45 Instingtive, 3.20 Imjoeking, 3.55 My Old Gold, 4.30 One For Harry, 5.05 Indy Five, 5.35 Precious Cargo.

CHELMSFORD: 5.45 Outlaw Torn, 6.15 Dor’s Law, 6.45 Glory Of Paris, 7.15 Lilbourne Star, 7.45 Dal Harraild (next best), 8.15 Fabianski, 8.45 Stormingin, 9.15 Four Fifty Three.

HEREFORD: 1.40 Miss Tynte, 2.15 Shanann Star, 2.50 Tambura, 3.25 Minella Scamp, 4.00 Dans Le Vent, 4.35 Kauto Riko, 5.10 Settie Hill.

SANDOWN: 1.20 Royale Zanzibar, 1.50 Indian Hawk, 2.25 CALL ME LORD (NAP), 3.00 Posh Trish, 3.35 Horatio Hornblower, 4.10 Kayf Blanco, 4.45 Ramonex.

WOLVERHAMPTON: 1.30 Point North, 2.05 Original Choice (treble), 2.40 Intern, 3.15 Second Thought, 3.50 Rastacap, 4.25 Mickey, 5.00 Tha’ir.