Matchbook Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle
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Grade 3 Handicap Hurdle,
Sandown Park 14:25
£75,000 added, 4yo plus,
1m 7f 216y, Class 1   
Saturday 10th March 2018

Mathematician Betting

1 Mr Antolini 20/1
2 Call Me Lord 8/1
3 Whatswrongwithyou 10/3F
4 Huntsman Son 9/1
17 ran Distances: nk, 9l, hd
Time: 4m 7.70s (slow by 22.70s)

Mr Antolini survives stewards' inquiry to win

Mr Antolini got the better of a thrilling battle with Call Me Lord to win the Imperial Cup under Jamie Bargary for trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies.

Mr Antolini

Mr Antolini
The former, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, was first past the post by a neck from the Nicky Henderson-trained top weight following a gripping duel.

But that was not the end of the drama as the stewards called an inquiry as the leading pair got very close in the last few yards.

However, the result was allowed to stand.

Castafiore and Shanroe Saint cut out the running and many horses had chances as they turned for home with two hurdles to jump.

Call Me Lord, ridden by Daryl Jacob, made smooth progress on the far rail to make his bid, while Mr Antolini was more towards the centre.

The pair had the race to themselves from the last as they pulled clear of the remainder, who were headed by 100-30 favourite Whatswrongwithyou.

Jamie Bargary drove Mr Antolini to the front and the protagonists came together in the closing stages, prompting an inquiry.

"They were very weary horses on this ground," Bargary told ITV Racing.

"I came over to Daryl for company as my horse was idling. He winged the last and the whole time after the last my horse is just idling.

"We got close and I just kept him going. I don't know if there was any contact. It felt like I left him enough room if he had the horse to go there.

"He's done it really well and he's travelled like the best horse. All I had to do was steer him round.

"It's hard going out there, but he's really dug deep for me."

Twiston-Davies said: "It was a really good run. 

"The weather, which we all get so angry about, stopped us running in a veterans' race at Newbury last week, which we thought would be an easy one, so we have come here instead and it has been very successful. 

"It is very exciting and it is decent amount of money. Jamie thought it was a bit tight but he thought it was fine, but then he would! 

"We are not in at Cheltenham with this one as he was too lowly rated to get in. 

"We will look at another run maybe Aintree or something like that. 

"I wouldn't have thought this ground is vital. His last race was over two and half (miles) at Huntingdon and on this ground you need to have a stayer." 

Anthony Bromley, racing manager for Call Me Lord's owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, said: "That's fair enough, that's racing. 

"He has run his heart out." 

Bargary was suspended three days for careless riding. 

The stewards said in a report that "he allowed his mount to drift right-handed without sufficient correction, causing Jacob to receive a bump and be tight for room".

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Matchbook Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle
£75,000 added, 4yo plus, 1m 7f 216y, Class 1
17 ran
Going: Soft, Heavy in places

Pos Dist Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Mr Antolini (IRE) 20/1 Jamie Bargary (3)
10-4
N A Twiston-Davies 8
2nd nk Call Me Lord (FR) 8/1 D A Jacob
11-12
N J Henderson 5
3rd 9 Whatswrongwithyou (IRE) 10/3f Nico de Boinville
10-13
N J Henderson 7
4th hd Huntsman Son (IRE) 9/1 James Bowen (3)
10-9
A M Hales 8
5th Man Of Plenty 25/1 Sean Houlihan (5)
10-0
Mrs S Leech 9
6th hd Silver Streak (IRE) 16/1 T J O'Brien
10-7
Evan Williams 5
7th 6 Fidux (FR) 20/1 Wayne Hutchinson
10-8
A King 5
8th Castafiore (USA) 25/1 Paul O'Brien (5)
10-4
C E Longsdon 5
9th Chti Balko (FR) 25/1 W T Kennedy
11-0
D McCain Jnr 6
10th Highway One O One (IRE) 12/1 Tom Cannon
10-7
C Gordon 6
11th Gassin Golf 16/1 Richard Patrick (5)
10-0
Kerry Lee 9
12th 13 Shanroe Saint 40/1 Jonathan Burke
10-0
B I Case 6
Also Ran: Le Patriote (FR) , Master Of Irony (IRE) , Octagon , Friday Night Light (FR) , Birch Hill (IRE)