Imperial Commander shortens for Cheltenham Gold Cup

Imperial Commander has been cut to 3/1 at the head of the Cheltenham Gold Cup betting following the news that Diamond Harry has been ruled out through injury.

Diamond Harry had been available for much of the season at 8/1 to win the Cheltenham showpiece following an impressive victory in the Hennessy Gold Cup in November when beating Burton Port and Denman.

Trainer Nick Williams has targeted the Cheltenham Gold Cup since for the eight-year-old, not running Diamond Harry in a number of potential races to ensure that he headed to Cheltenham fresh

However, this plan has now backfired for connections, with Diamond Harry now having to spend another three months on the sidelines after a vet identified an injury to a suspensory ligament on his near-fore.

Williams had noted recently that Diamond Harry had “lost his sparkle” at home, which had resulted in the horse drifting slightly to 10/1 in the Cheltenham betting.

Owner Paul Duffy said: “It’s not as serious as a tendon injury thankfully, but that’s the ups and downs of racing I’m afraid.

“We were very hopeful for him in the Gold Cup. He goes well fresh and we felt it was the right thing to do not to run again after the Hennessy.”

Even more frustrating for connections is that the horse will have to run off a high mark next season upon his return and they may now be regretting the decision to run Diamond Harry just once in the current campaign, when he was in such good form.

Punters who backed Diamond Harry will not lose out because of the withdrawal, thanks to the non runner money back offer that was put into place for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The development means that Long Run will lead the hopes of the young brigade looking to secure Cheltenham Gold Cup victory over Imperial Commander, Kauto Star and Denman.

Long Run’s betting odds are 5/1 to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup, with Kauto Star 11/2 and Denman 6/1.

A £25 stake on Kempes winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup would return £250. New customers can sign up here for a free £25 bet.