Grand National Meeting 4th - 6th April 2013 

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Late National Call for Imperial Commander

Imperial Commander is in rude health and raring to go, but connections are likely to wait until Tuesday before deciding whether to let him take his chance in the John Smith's Grand National on April 6.

Imperial Commander
© Racehorse Photos

Imperial Commander

The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained 12-year-old is reported to have recovered from a lung infection that denied him the chance to reclaim his Gold Cup crown earlier this month.

The 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero, who would have to defy top weight of 11st 10lb at Aintree on Saturday week, will not be risked should the ground be heavy. Should be conditions be testing, he would also be likely to miss his alternative engagement at the meeting, the Betfred Bowl.

"We are still undecided. He will be confirmed at the five-day stage and we will have a look at the race," said Paul Costello, spokesman for owners the Our Friends In The North Syndicate.

"If the ground was heavy, he wouldn't run in the National and probably not in the Bowl either. If that was the case, he would wait for Punchestown. He's a much better horse on better ground, as his form shows. If we get something like good to soft we'd be over the moon.

"We'll see what the ground is at that time and that might sway us one way or the other. The horse worked well on Tuesday and he's in great shape and we'd be hopeful of a good run."

Imperial Commander's Grand National odds of 20/1 at present appear to be very generous, and are sure to shorten if he gets the green light.

Costello said: "I think what's happening is the bookmakers are going non-runner, no bet now and our horse is over-priced. When he starts to shorten, you get a snowball effect. There's no real need to make a decision just now. I would say after he has worked on Tuesday would be the time we would make a final decision."

The Rainbow Hunter
© Racehorse Photos

The Rainbow Hunter
Aidan Coleman has been booked to ride The Rainbow Hunter on Saturday week.

The nine-year-old, who is a 66-1 outsider, has been ridden by Jason Maguire and Nick Scholfield on his three outings this term but neither is likely to be available for the Aintree feature.

Trainer Kim Bailey and owners the May We Never Be Found Out Partnership have duly moved to secure Coleman as a replacement.

Partnership member Oli Bell tweeted: "Aidan Coleman has been booked to ride The Rainbow Hunter in this years Grand National."

Wyck Hill has definitely been ruled out of the big race by trainer David Bridgwater. The nine-year-old suffered a badly cut leg when disappointing on his first run for leading owner JP McManus in the Racing Plus Chase at Kempton last month.

Bridgwater said: "He had a nasty gash after Kempton and, unfortunately, that meant we had to miss a couple of weeks with him. He's back in full work now and he's fine, but we just missed too much work with him, so we've run out of time for Aintree.

"We'll have to wait another year to have a crack at the National, but there are plenty of options for him for the end of this season. There is the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown and Punchestown, so we'll see."

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