Paddy Brennan winning the 2010 Gold Cup on Imperial CommanderPICTURE: Getty Images
Commander cruises through 'pivotal' gallop
IMPERIAL COMMANDER came through what connections described as "a pivotal piece of work in the run up to the Betfair Chase" with flying colours when galloping at Towcester racecourse on Friday morning.
So impressed was partner Paddy Brennan, he tweeted: "Very happy with Imperial Commander this morning, he's class is still firmly intact. Can't wait for Haydock."
The 11-year-old, winner of the 2010 Gold Cup, when gatecrashing the much-hyped showdown between Kauto Star and Denman, has been off the track since pulling up behind Long Run in the 2011 edition.
Nursed back to health and preped for a crack at the Betfair Chase at Haydock on November 24, Imperial Commander also impressed part-owner Ian Robinson.
"The enthusiasm in Paddy's voice when he phoned me told me everything I needed to know, he was delighted with Imperial Commander's performance," wrote Robinson in his blog. "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.
Imperial Commander (left) thrilled Paddy Brennan and his ownersPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
"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.
"The return to a racecourse certainly gave him a new injection of enthusiasm, and he looked to relish the task in hand. With a racecourse at our disposal we seized the opportunity to pop him over a few fences.
"As ever he was safe and sure although he did have a tendency to balloon some of the fences, which was not unexpected given that he hasn't jumped a fence in over 18 months. With two weeks to go he can sharpen up his aim over the schooling fences on the Naunton gallops."
He added: "At the age of 11 we are certainly realistic about his capabilities, with the most important consideration being his well being and enjoyment of the task in hand. This exercise session this morning ticked all of the right boxes, and he looks a happy and content horse."