Call Me Lord tops Imperial Cup weights

Henderson has two of 26 confirmations at Sandown

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Nicky Henderson’s Call Me Lord heads a list of 26 horses confirmed for the Matchbook Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle at Sandown.

The six-year-old Grade Two winner, unplaced in the JLT Hurdle at Ascot on his reappearance, tops the possibles on Saturday with a weight of 11st 12lb.

Henderson has also left in Dream Du Grand Val, winner of his last two starts at Fontwell and Kelso.

Jane Williams has a leading contender in Monsieur Lecoq, a course-and-distance winner in January, while Kim Bailey has indicated First Flow could have his first race for a year should there be enough cut in the ground.

Others in the mix include Winston C, Benny’s Bridge and Malaya – who are all prominent in the ante-post betting.

With the maximum field set at 22, Harry Whittington cannot yet be sure Sparkleandshine will make the cut as the current number 25.

“We’ve confirmed him for the Imperial Cup, so we’ll have a look later on today,” said the Wantage trainer.

“He’s just had the one run for me. We like him – we thought he ran well the other day.

“He could have done with a stiffer track than Ludlow and ran a blinder without winning.

“They just didn’t come back to him – it was a really sharp track. A stiffer track will suit him, and we think he needs a collapsing pace.

“He’s not guaranteed to run, so we’ll see.”

The most notable defectors at the five-day acceptance stage were Vision Des Flos, Southfield Stone and Birds Of Prey.

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