Imperial Commander still the one to beat in Gold Cup

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Imperial Commander has been kept under wraps by trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies for much of the season but a good racecourse gallop at Warwick has shown that the favourite in the Cheltenham Gold Cup betting is on track to be fully fit in a month’s time.

Last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup winner is 7/2 to repeat his success at the Festival next month, but punters may be concerned that the horse has only been seen on the racecourse once all season.

This appearance came in the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November when he ran out a comfortable winner over Tidal Bay.

However, this run also came at a cost as the ten-year-old suffered a gashed leg during the race, which has kept him sidelined in recent weeks.

This injury has now cleared up and Twiston-Davies is well on the road to ensuring that Imperial Commander will be at his best in time for Cheltenham.

He said: “We galloped him over two miles. It went really well. That’s his first really serious racecourse gallop.

“All we have to do is to get him to the races in the same form as last year and then it will take a very good one to beat him.”

Twiston-Davies added that Imperial Commander will have one more gallop at Kempton ahead of the Cheltenham Festival, which should ensure that he is in tip-top condition.

The fact that Imperial Commander has spent little time on the racecourse should also be of little concern as he was handed a three-month break ahead of last year’s Festival and he went on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Furthermore, he has won on five of his last six starts at the course, including at back-to-back Cheltenham Festivals, following his triumph in the Ryanair Chase in 2009.

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