Favourite Langer Dan set to skip Sandown on Saturday as trainer Dan Skelton seeks to keep the six-year-old fresh for the Cheltenham Festival
- Langer Dan only made his seasonal debut last month after a minor injury
- The six-year-old is 3-1 favourite for Saturday’s Paddy Power Imperial Cup
- However, trainer Dan Skelton wants to keep him fresh for Cheltenham
Favourite Langer Dan appears likely to miss Saturday’s Paddy Power Imperial Cup at Sandown to be kept fresh for a shot at the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
The six-year-old, trained by Dan Skelton, came close to pulling off the double last season, winning the Imperial Cup by four-and-a-half lengths before only being beaten by Willie Mullins-trained Galopin Des Champs — a horse now being hailed as a potential champion in waiting — in the Festival contest.
Langer Dan is 3-1 favourite for the Imperial Cup but Skelton said: ‘I have given him the option of running at Sandown but we’re thinking of keeping him fresh and going straight to Cheltenham.’
Langer Dan appears likely to miss Saturday’s Paddy Power Imperial Cup at Sandown
A minor injury in the autumn meant Langer Dan only made his seasonal debut last month when he was unplaced at Taunton. Last season Langer Dan narrowly missed out on a £50,000 bonus offered by sponsors Paddy Power if the Imperial Cup winner went on to win at the Festival. That is not being offered this season.
Meanwhile, a compromise has been reached in the row between the British Horseracing Authority and jockeys over the removal of a 3lb allowance which had been in place since Covid caused weighing rooms saunas to be closed.
With saunas now closed permanently — a move being hailed as good for the physical and mental well-being of jockeys — weights across the board will be raised 2lb. Riders will now be allowed 4lb instead of the current 3lb for their back protector.