Imperial Commander proved too good for the rest of the field in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last year and jockey Paddy Brennan believes he is close to returning to that level of form again, bang on time for the Cheltenham Festival.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup betting has Imperial Commander priced as the 7/2 favourite, although the horse has only raced once so far in the current season.
This run came in the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November when he produced a workmanlike display to hold off the late surge of Tidal Bay, but punters may be concerned about the lack of racecourse appearances since.
However, regular jockey Brennan has no such concerns and feels that the horse will be in tip-top condition by the time the Cheltenham Gold Cup comes around, particularly after a pleasing gallop at Kempton over the weekend.
Brennan said: “He was more back to himself, giving me that feel, and I’m really looking forward to riding him now.
“The excitement’s back and it would be amazing to win another Gold Cup. It’s just great to have the horse back somewhere near his best.”
Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies added that the horse is at a similar level to that at the same point prior to Cheltenham last year, despite his lack of runs and the setback he has had in recovering from an infection suffered to a cut leg.
This year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup is expected to be one of the most open renewals in recent years, with as many as five horses liable to go off at single-figure odds.
Long Run is 5/1 in the Cheltenham Gold Cup betting after an impressive display in winning the rearranged King George at Kempton, while Denman, Kauto Star and Diamond Harry are others sure to attract support.
A £25 stake on Diamond Harry winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup would return £200. New customers can sign up here for a free £25 bet.