Mr Mole chasing Imperial bonus
Buzz horse Mr Mole could set up a lucrative Cheltenham bonus bid with victory in the £70,000 Paddy Power Imperial Cup at Sandown on Saturday.
Although a valuable contest in its own right, an enduring appeal of this race is the additional £75,000 on offer from the sponsors should the winner follow up in any race at the Festival next week.
The Paul Nicholls-trained Mr Mole, a ready winner on heavy ground at Taunton last month and conqueror of subsequent Grade One winner Melodic Rendezvous in October, does hold an entry in the Vincent O'Brien County Hurdle next Friday.
He had an entry elsewhere on the Sandown card but connections plumped for a tilt at the big handicap.
Nicholls said: "He is in good order - the more it rains between now and Saturday the better as he loves soft ground and we are really looking forward to running him."
His rider Tony McCoy said: "I questioned his resolution a bit at Wincanton (when second), but he was better at Taunton.
"It'll be a big field and a competitive handicap, so he'll need to be on his A-game."