Imperial to put on a Commanding comeback show
GOLD Cup hero Imperial Commander has been tipped to put on a "big show" when he makes his comeback from injury.
Ian Robinson, co-owner and spokesman for the Our Friends In The North syndicate, said the 12-year-old had benefited from a workout at Warwick Racecourse in preparation for his first run for nearly two years in the Argento Chase at Cheltenham.
He said trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies and his staff at Grange Hill Farm in Guiting Power deserved immense credit for getting Imperial Commander in such good shape.
"They've got him in great order," said Robinson.
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"The racecourse gallop he had at Warwick has really brought him on and we're delighted with how he's travelling at home.
"The schooling fences have been frozen so we haven't been able to school him again, but we're not too worried about that and he's ready to go.
"He's going to come on for the run but he's as fit as we can get him and all the signs are good.
"He's probably lost a gear or two but that's natural, and he's still a high-quality staying chaser and loves that track.
"We think he'll ask a few questions of the opposition and they're going to have to be good enough to beat him.
"We're just looking to see him jump around and enjoy himself and whatever happens he isn't going to be outclassed and he's going to be in the mix.
"I think he'll put on a big show."
Imperial Commander's comeback run will see him reunited with his regular jockey Paddy Brennan, who rode him to victory in the 2008 Paddy Power Gold Cup, the 2009 Ryanair Chase and the 2010 Gold Cup.
The last time they teamed up in a race Imperial Commander was pulled up after sustaining an injury in the 2011 Gold Cup, but Brennan has ridden him in exercise spins since.
Robinson has been pleased with how well horse and jockey have gelled.
Robinson said: "Paddy knows he's going to have to ride him slightly differently and make more use of him – he's not a horse now that will go through the gears – but that said there are a lot of horses out there that win races that aren't that quick.
"Paddy understands the horse, he has from day one.
"The first time he rode him the Paddy Power there was a connection there.
"The horse has always given everything he's been asked for Paddy and I'm sure Paddy's looking forward to the race as well."
The other runners in the Argento Chase are set to include Gold Cup favourite Bobs Worth.