Sandown will be Star's first stop

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The Independent Online
Before the Lord Mayor's Show comes the Imperial Cup (Handicap Hurdle) and although Saturday's Sandown race suffers by its proximity to the Cheltenham spectacular next week, it remains one of the year's most competitive handicap hurdles.

It also offers a pounds 50,000 bonus from the race's sponsor, Sunderlands bookmakers, to the connections of any horse that can add next week's Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle to Imperial Cup success.

Moody Man was the last horse to complete the double in 1990 and this year Star Rage - who won the County Hurdle last year - may make the attempt.

Jimmy Harris, his trainer, said: "Star Rage is in good form. We are aiming at that bonus. He won at Carlisle the Monday before he won last year's County Hurdle so he will have two extra days' rest this year."

Among Star Rage's rivals at Sandown could be Shining Edge, also a County entry, who beat Harris's tough hurdler at Doncaster recently. "We'll make a decision later in the week but Shining Edge won't run in both races," his trainer, Tim Easterby, said.

n The Queen Mother Champion Chase candidate Martha's Son will school over fences after racing at Bangor tomorrow.

RICHARD EDMONDSON

NAP: Copper Thistle

(Leicester 4.20)

NB: Live Project

(Lingfield 3.40)

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