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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Leader set for Sandown pipe-openerHeadlines
Nigel Twiston-Davies

Imperial Leader is set to take his chance in the EBF paddypower.com Final at Sandown on Saturday week before running in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained five-year-old also holds an entry in the Coral Cup but is unlikely to make the cut in that race.

After winning on his hurdling debut at Southwell, he finished a close fourth in a hot novices' hurdle at Cheltenham before a third at Newbury last time out.

Paul Costello, syndicate manager for his owners, the Imperial Racing Partnership, said: "Imperial Leader will be running in the EBF Final before hopefully heading to the Festival.

"Hopefully he'll go close at Sandown, if not win.

"He's in the Martin Pipe and the Coral, but the way the weights are we are probably going for the Martin Pipe.

"His form is pretty strong - he was fourth at Cheltenham in a novices' hurdle won by Melodic Rendezvous - and he'll improve for the better ground."

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