Polar Red is reported to be bang on course for Cheltenham on Thursday after his thrilling victory in Saturday’s Sunderlands Imperial Cup at Sandown.
A £60,000 bonus - put up by Sunderlands - awaits connections of Polar Red if he can land Thursday’s Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle, the closing event of the 2002 Festival.
Champion trainer Martin Pipe said: ‘‘Polar Red has come out of the Imperial Cup fine and I’m very pleased with him. He’s eaten up and there are no problems.
‘‘We said in the papers that the idea was to win by a head and then go to Cheltenham with a 7lb penalty, and that is what is going to happen after he did exactly what we predicted!
‘‘Let’s hope he can land the double - we’ve done it with Blowing Wind and Olympian and we want the hat-trick for Sir Stanley.’’