Imperial Commander Out of Gold Cup
The twelve-year-old returned to racing in January, after an almost two-year stint on the sidelines, and stamped himself as a Cheltenham Gold Cup contender after finishing second behind Cape Tribulation in the Argento Chase.
Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies said the setback was disappointing but he now has his sights set firmly on the Aintree Grand National.
“Imperial Commander has a lung infection and we haven’t enough time to put him right,” Twiston-Davies said.
“It’s come at absolutely the wrong time.
“I would be very confident he would be back for Aintree.”
However, Paul Costello, syndicate manager for owners Our Friends in the North, indicated that the ownership group was not 100% sold on a Grand National crack.
“He’s got an entry in National, and he would have a nice weight, so we wouldn’t close the door on that just yet,” Costello said.
“But it’s maybe just as likely we’ll look at the Betfred Bowl or maybe even Punchestown.
“It would be too soon to look too far ahead, but hopefully we’ll have him back, fighting fit, in the spring.”
A horror day for Twiston-Davies was capped off by the withdrawal of two more horses from the Cheltenham Festival.
Astraca, who was entered for the Byrne Group Plate as well as the Grand Annual, and The Cockney Macken were ruled out of the festival because of a bug.
“We’ve been absolutely free of any sort of snotty nose all season and suddenly we have got a few with it,” Twiston-Davies said.
“All the rest are fine.”
Imperial Commander’s withdrawal has resulted in little chance to the Cheltenham Gold Cup betting market at Bet365.
Bobs Worth (3/1) is still the favourite for the event followed by Sir Des Champs (4/1), Silviniaco Conti (11/2) and Long Run (6/1).
You can find the best Cheltenham Gold Cup odds at Bet365.
- Read more news on: Aintree Grand National, Argento Chase, Astraca, Betfred Bowl, Bobs Worth, Byrne Group Plate, Cape Tribulation, Cheltenham Festival, Cheltenham Gold Cup, Grand Annual, imperial commander, Long Run, Our Friends in the North, Paul Costello, Silviniaco Conti, Sir Des Champs, The Cockney Macken