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Imperial Commander wins the Betfair Chase Haydock 20.11.2010

Imperial Commander (black silks) is on course to return in the Betfair Chase

  PICTURE: Martin Lynch  

Commander to gallop at Chepstow before racing

IMPERIAL COMMANDER, who famously upstaged Denman and Kauto Star in a memorable 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup, makes his first racecourse appearance in more than 18 months on Saturday.

The 11-year-old takes the latest step towards an intended reappearance on November 24 in the Betfair Chase at Haydock, a race he won in 2010 after being beaten a nose by Kauto Star in the 2009 race.

The top-class chaser will canter two miles with a stablemate around Chepstow before racing. Nigel Twiston-Davies said: "He has not been back with me long, since early September with the prep work done on the stud in Ireland.

"Hopefully it will be the Betfair Chase again with him and it will bring him on a long way."

Imperial Commander was injured when pulled up in the defence of his Gold Cup in 2011 and missed last season after suffering a tendon injury when returning to training.

Simonsig - Cheltenham 14/03/2012

Simonsig will have one more schooling session before returning to the track

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (  

NICKY HENERSON on Friday gave a positive bulletin after schooling the majority of his stable stars on Friday morning and revealed Simonsig is one schooling session away from a return to the track.

Henderson is favourite to wrestle the trainers' championship from Paul Nicholls' grasp this season and fired a reminder of the ammunition he has at his desposal to his title rival.

Henderson said: "It was a big morning for us as the big names, including Sprinter Sacre, Long Run and Finian's Rainbow were all out and schooled. Simonsig schooled with the rest this morning and he wants one more school before he goes to the races."

Evan Williams

Evan Williams could run Court Minstrel or Hold Court at the Open meeting

  PICTURE: David Dew  

Evan Williams is targetting the Grade 2 Opus Energy Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham's Open meeting, though whether he runs Court Minstrel or Hold Court on November 16 is yet to be decided.

Williams said: "We will definitely keep it in mind for Court Minstrel but I won't say we will definitely end up there because he is a horse we might not do too much with in the early part of the season.

"It's definitely a race we will look at. He has been grand since his win at Cheltenham and he looked visually impressive there but it probably wasn't the strongest of contests. He did it nicely, the track seemed to suit him and he will always be suited by a good fast pace."

Williams added: "Hold Court will improve for his win at Ludlow yesterday. He is a horse who had sore shins at the end of last year and I wanted to run him somewhere where they go a good gallop because he can pull a bit.

"We will definitely look at the race with him as he is a horse we like an awful lot. We will have all those sort of races in mind for him for the rest of the season."

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