The Imperial Cup is a Listed handicap hurdle race run at Sandown Park over two miles, 110 yards for horses aged four years or older.
Established in 1907, it was one of the most important hurdle races of the entire national hunt calendar and would attract some of the leading hurdling stars to competed for the coveted prize.
However, it can now be used as a springboard to the Cheltenham Festival and you often see horses who have competed in the Imperial Cup going on to the Festival the following week to take part in one of the competitive hurdle contests.
Usually connections can win a bonus if their horse can win the Imperial Cup and then go on to be victorious at Cheltenham, with recent winners including Olympian, who won the 1993 Imperial Cup before going on to win the Coral Cup for Martin Pipe.
More recently, Blowing Wind managed to win the 1998 renewal before lifting the County Hurdle crown, whilst Gaspara won the 2007 running before going to Prestbury Park and bagging glory in the Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle for David Pipe.
The Pipe dynasty have always had an affiliation with the race with Martin winning the race six times during his illustrious career, whilst it didn't take long for son David to emulate those sort of achievements notching up two victories in quick succession in 2007 and 2008.