Commander on course for Haydock
Imperial Commander came through a crucial racecourse workout with flying colours as the 2010 Gold Cup hero passed another test on his way to the Betfair Chase.
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The 11-year-old, who has been sidelined since being pulled up in the 2011 Gold Cup, worked two miles at Towcester in the hands of his regular race partner Paddy Brennan.
The big race at Haydock on November 24, which Imperial Commander won two years ago, is still very much the plan for the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained gelding.
"The enthusiasm in Paddy's voice when he phoned me shortly before 8.00am told me everything I needed to know, he was delighted with Imperial Commander's performance," part-owner Ian Robinson said in his blog on www.imperial-horseracing.com
"Imperial worked over two miles with an unraced four-year-old bumper horse (who is very highly regarded) finishing upsides and showing plenty of enthusiasm.
"Overall, Imperial gave him a much better feel than in his final Warwick work out before the 2011 Gold Cup, and was moving as well as he has in the last three years.
"Whilst he had a good blow afterwards his recovery rate suggests he will arrive at the Betfair Chase ready to do himself justice."
Brennan, too, could not contain his delight.
"Very happy with Imperial Commander this morning, his class is still firmly intact. Can't wait for Haydock," tweeted the jockey.
(reopens) David Bridgwater reports last season's Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up The Giant Bolster to be on target for the Merseyside feature.
"The Betfair Chase is the likely starting point for The Giant Bolster," said Bridgwater.
"He has been all right since he came back from his summer break and is in good form.
"He had a good season last year. I wasn't surprised by his run in the Gold Cup - I said before the race that he would finish in the first four and he did.
"I don't know if we are the horse everyone has to beat as it depends on a number of things but it's down to the horse now.
"We have got the same campaign mapped out as everybody else. After Haydock, it will be the King George and then the Gold Cup."