Golf can land Imperial plot
Gassin Golf can handsomely execute a long-term plan by winning the William Hill Imperial Cup according to Chris Wilson.
- Related Content
AYR: 1.55 I Need Gold, 2.30 See Double You, 3.05 Plus Jamais, 3.40 Rattlin, 4.15 Samstown, 4.50 Man With Van, 5.25 The Unsub.
CHEPSTOW: 2.10 Allow Dallow, 2.45 Bob Ford, 3.20 Rosslyn Castle, 3.55 Consigliere, 4.30 Entertain Me, 5.05 Heavenstown, 5.35 Present To You.
GOWRAN: 2.25 Easter Hunt, 3.00 Sizing Granite, 3.35 Sunsetstorise, 4.10 Treat Yourself, 4.45 Abbey Lane, 5.20 Glen Ode, 5.50 Fletcher.
SANDOWN: 1.30 Rayak, 2.05 Ceasar Milan, 2.40 Noble Legend, 3.15 GASSIN GOLF (NAP), 3.50 Side Step, 4.25 Sound Investment, 5.00 Aachen.
WOLVERHAMPTON: 2.20 Chookie Royale, 2.55 Star Links, 3.30 Tarrafal, 4.05 Come On Dave, 4.40 Trojan Rocket, 5.15 Mica Mika, 5.45 Euro Charline.
DOUBLE: Gassin Golf and Samstown.
Gassin Golf can handsomely execute a long-term plan by winning the William Hill Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle at Sandown.
Trainer Richard Lee and owner Will Roseff have had this Grade Three in mind for most of the season, and they look to have the right horse to pull off a mini-coup.
The five-year-old gelding arrives in Esher with just 10st, which is significant, as low-weight winners have, in recent years, become commonplace in the Imperial Cup.
Gassin Golf has plenty of boot, and was a solid handicapper on the Flat for Sir Mark Prescott before switching codes last year.
He is winless from seven tries over hurdles, but Lee must have seen plenty at home as he was pitched into the 2013 Triumph Hurdle on the back of a pleasing second at Newbury on his jumps bow.
Gassin Golf was pulled up at the Cheltenham Festival, but since then he has been a largely consistent performer in decent company.
That claim was underscored at Newbury on his last start in November when he finished fifth on his handicap bow off a mark of 122.
Lee's inmate was bang in contention for most of the two-mile-three-furlong journey, before he grew tired close home in a hot race featuring the likes of Vendor, Saphir Du Rheu and Mischievous Milly.
Gassin Golf runs in the Imperial Cup over an extended two miles, which should suit him better, while it is interesting he has been kept on ice since that day at Newbury.
This may be due to the fact the ground has been pretty awful for most of the winter as, though he does not mind it soft, he has never been tested in a quagmire.
Having gone well fresh during his Flat days, a lack of sharpness will not be an issue following a 98-day absence.
Chookie Royale can be forgiven his no-show in the Winter Derby Trial by securing the Ladbrokes Lady Wulfruna Stakes at Wolverhampton.
Keith Dalgleish's six-year-old has excelled on the all-weather during the close season, and was highly impressive over an extended mile at Dunstall Park in February, when he accounted for Star Links by seven lengths.
Chookie Royale could not carry on the good work at Lingfield a fortnight ago, but he was not entirely convincing over a mile and a quarter, especially as he badly missed the break.
The jury remains out as to whether his future belongs over 10 furlongs and beyond, but Chookie Royale should, for the time being at least, be a lot more content back over seven.
The aforementioned Star Links can add further credence to the form by taking the Ladbrokes Lincoln Trial Handicap later on the card.
Shane Donohoe's eight-year-old has won again at Wolverhampton - his eighth course success - since his eclipse by Chookie Royale and has had this race earmarked for quite some time.
Samstown is a solid shout to take top honours in the Best Odds Guaranteed At totepool.com Handicap Chase at Ayr.
The Alistair Whillans-trained seven-year-old has looked good since thoughts turned to chasing, with an easy win at Market Rasen in December the highlight.
His fourth-placed finish in the Tommy Whittle was almost just as impressive, though, and set him up nicely for an assignment at Wincanton in January.
Samstown again jumped accurately and travelled almost too well as he found himself in the lead a long way from home.
Ewan Whillans' partner was eventually ground down by Flying Award, beaten just a neck, but history has since shown that to be a fine effort as that rival won the Devon National earlier in the week.
Samstown has gone up another 3lb for this, but he is clearly making really encouraging headway over fences and will like the heavy ground in Scotland.
Consigliere must be followed in the BetVictor Non-Runner No Bet At Cheltenham Handicap Chase at Chepstow.
He has had to settle for minor honours on his last couple of starts but is clearly in fair form and has dropped down the handicap to a useful mark.