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    Murphy Contemplating Imperial Cup Challenge with Go Dante
Murphy Contemplating Imperial Cup Challenge with Go Dante
Go Dante (pink and red cap) by Healy Racing

Murphy Contemplating Imperial Cup Challenge with Go Dante

The Betfair Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle is emerging as a compelling option for the connections of Go Dante, possibly overshadowing the allure of the Cheltenham Festival.

The Olly Murphy-trained Betfair Hurdle third is contemplating a plunge into the lucrative Sandown event. Alongside securing a spot in Saturday’s Sandown feature, Go Dante is also eyeing entries in the Country Hurdle and Martin Pipe races at Prestbury Park the following week.

Despite the eight-year-old's uncertainty in securing a place for the Cotswolds events, Warren Chase's team is earnestly contemplating a journey to Esher for the esteemed £100,000 competition. Go Dante is pegged at 7-1 odds with the sponsors. Murphy expressed,

“It’s an avenue we are exploring. Ideally, we aimed for a Cheltenham handicap opportunity, but that seems unlikely, hence the Imperial Cup emerges as the most feasible race for us to partake in."
“He’s in fine fettle and delivered a commendable performance in the Betfair. I believe the soft ground and a challenging two miles at Sandown would suit him aptly. While he boasts two Cheltenham entries next week, we are evaluating where his chances are brightest and will make an informed decision. However, Sandown on Saturday is certainly under consideration.”

A similar outlook is mirrored by Oliver Greenall and Josh Guerriero’s Making Headway, who, despite having options at the Cheltenham Festival, are leaning towards a shot at the Imperial Cup. Following a striking triumph from the front in heavy ground at Newbury recently, the six-year-olds participation may hinge on ground conditions, determining whether his team will take the risk or wait in anticipation of a potential spot in the Coral Cup or Martin Pipe races at Prestbury Park.

“I anticipate he will participate in the Imperial Cup, provided there isn't excessive drying out,”

stated Greenall.

“He favours no quicker than good to soft or soft conditions – it appears to be an opportune moment for him. His entry at Cheltenham isn't secured, and we initially contemplated the Premier Novices’ Hurdle at Kelso, but it seemed highly competitive, deterring us from entering.”

Ben Pauling's recent victor at Huntingdon, Jipcot, currently leads the betting market. The adept handler is also behind the narrow Ascot runner-up Bad, one of the 23 contenders vying for Saturday's event.

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