Sandown provides a tasty hors d’oeuvres for Cheltenham

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Friday March 10

Alan will have heading off to Cheltenham on Sunday for his traditional walk around the course before the Festival, but first he has a date at Sandown tomorrow, where William H Bonney goes for the £70,000 Matchbook Imperial Cup and Willoughby Hedge for the three-mile handicap chase.

Looking ahead to their chances, Alan said:”We took a gamble on running William H Bonney in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury just two weeks after he won so well at Cheltenham.

As we feared it might, the race came too soon, but he’s done well to recover from a fractured pelvis, and he’s had four weeks to freshen up and seems back in good form. He’s definitely better than he looked at Newbury, where he travelled well to the third last and then beat a retreat, so we are looking to get back on track in what looks an open race.

“Willoughby Hedge is 9lb higher than when he won over the course and distance three weeks ago. He travelled well there in the visor and if it works again he should again be competitive.”