Imperial Cup bonus returns

Matchbook, the new sponsor of the Imperial Cup at Sandown on March 11, will award a £50,000 bonus should the winner go on to win any race at the Cheltenham Festival the following week.

Flying Angel missed out on a possible bonus last year

The bonus has been a long-standing feature of the famous handicap but wasn't in place for last year's renewal of the two mile handicap, won by Flying Angel.

Three horses have won the bonus in its history and all three hailed from the Pond House Stables of Martin and David Pipe with Olympian (1993 Coral Cup), Blowing Wind (1998 County Hurdle) and Gaspara (2007 Fred Winter Hurdle) all going on to success at Cheltenham.

Mark Brosnan, Matchbook CEO, said: "We are delighted to be sponsoring Imperial Cup Day and to reinstate this bonus, bringing back a long-standing tradition.

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"It is just one more way we can demonstrate our commitment to the sport and contribute to the future growth of British Horse Racing.

"Alongside our sponsorship investment, we have also invested in developing a horse racing product we believe will become the best in the world, combining our lightning quick betting platform and consistently stand-out pricing."

Jockey Club representative Tony Langenegger added: "We were very pleased to welcome Matchbook as a partner this year and look forward to the Matchbook Imperial Cup Day very much.

"It is always a great day's racing, that whets the appetite nicely for the four days of Cheltenham Festival the following week. Matchbook's decision to reinstate a bonus for the Imperial Cup winner going on to win a race at the Cheltenham Festival is a testament to their enthusiasm for the event and we look forward to working with them in 2017 and beyond."

The Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle is worth £70,000 and is run over a distance of two miles.

The bonus will be split with £30,000 going to the winning owner, £10,000 to the trainer and £5,000 for the yard and for the jockey (split in half if two jockeys are involved).

Matchbook sponsors 16 fixtures at Sandown Park and Kempton Park Racecourses in 2017, including the historic Brigadier Gerard Evening at Sandown Park and Silver Cups Day at Kempton Park.

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