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Commander Moves Another Step Closer to Racecourse Return

The 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander has moved another step closer to his anticipated racecourse return in the Grade 2 Argento Chase at Cheltenham on January 26 by working in pleasing fashion at Warwick prior to racing on January 12, writes Elliot Slater.

Imperial Commander

Imperial Commander

The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained veteran has battled against injuries over the last couple of seasons but still appears to retain plenty of ability and pleased his racecourse work rider Paddy Brennan, the man who was on board the 12-year-old when he enjoyed his finest moment and stunned Betfair Cheltenham Festival racing markets by beating the mighty Denman by seven lengths in the Gold Cup having landed the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase at the Prestbury track 12 months earlier.

After beating the now revitalised Tidal Bay in the 2010 Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock, Imperial Commander only had one further outing when pulled up in the defence of his title at Cheltenham having travelled well for much of the trip. He was found to have sustained a tendon injury and hasn’t been seen in action since.

Although Brennan felt the popular old-timer has probably lost a little of his speed, he still believes that the gelded son of Flemensfirth will give a good account of himself on his first outing for 22 months. Imperial Commander has won five times out of six on his seasonal reappearance, indeed the only horse to lower his colours on his return from a break is the legendary Kauto Star, and that was only by a nose in a sensational renewal of the Betfair Chase back in 2009.

Horseracing tips writers and bookmakers currently rate Imperial Commander a general 50/1, a price that could disappear very quickly if Twiston-Davies’ stable favourite runs as well as his record suggests in the Argento Chase, a contest in which he may have to lock horns with recent King George VI Chase winner, Long Run.

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