Imperial Commander worth backing now for Cheltenham Gold Cup
Imperial Commander has not been seen on the racecourse for approximately 18 months, but he looks to be incredibly undervalued to bounce back to something close to his best this season.
The freak that is Kauto Star aside, Cheltenham Gold Cup winners do not typically reclaim their crown having given up their time in the spotlight.
However, it is worth a small ante-post punt at 40/1 that Imperial Commander does win the 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup, especially as it is anticipated that this price will shorten in the following weeks.
Imperial Commander missed the whole of last season because of a tendon injury, but the problem was never labelled as anything too serious and not something that a decent period of rest could not put right.
The Betfair Chase is expected to represent his return this season and although a victory is unlikely, he is almost certain to come on for the run.
If he finishes in the first three, this will be seen as a positive result to build on and Imperial Commander generally loves Haydock.
He has never been outside the first two at the course, once running Kauto Star to a nostril of victory, while on the four previous occasions that he has returned from a decent break, he has won three times.
A victory at Haydock could cut him into single figures for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
This would be a more realistic price given that Sir Des Champs is the current favourite at a lowly 5/1.
Sir Des Champs may be unbeaten in all five chase starts and still have untapped potential, but his rating remains worse than Imperial Commander and this means the gap between them in the betting is far too great.
It is also worth noting that although now an 11-year-old, Imperial Commander is still relatively lightly raced, having only 13 starts over fences, meaning that he will not be as battle-scarred as the majority of horses tend to be at his age.
All odds and markets correct as of publication