Past Winners » Imperial Commander


Voy Por Ustedes is a rock solid favourite here. He is top class, he has course form, he is probably competing over his ideal distance, and he is expected to come on for his last run at Ascot, on ground that was too soft and going the wrong way round, when he hockeyed the useful Gwanako. However, there is nothing in him now at best odds of 6/4, and I think that Imperial Commander is a little bit of value against him at 7/1.

Nigel Twiston-Davies’s horse is potentially top class. He was the winner on merit of a hot Paddy Power Gold Cup over the Ryanair course and distance last November, and he is still hugely progressive, an eight-year-old who has raced just five times over fences in his life. You can forget his last run in the King George, as the Twiston-Davies horses were going through a terrible time. It is not certain that they are out of the doldrums yet, but there is a chance that they are, and Paddy Brennan reported four days ago that Imperial Commander was zinging. He has won four times at Cheltenham in all codes, two and a half miles is quite probably his optimum also and, if the Twiston-Davies horses are back, he could put it up to the favourite. In a race that lacks strength in-depth, and with all of the bookmakers going ¼ the odds a place, he is an each-way bet.

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I am backing Imperial Commander again this morning in the Ryanair Chase at 13/2. The case for him has strengthened. The Twiston-Davies horse that won the National Hunt Chase yesterday stayed on really well all the way to the line, something a lot of the yard’s horses just hadn’t been doing up until recently. Of course, it is dangerous to make assumptions about the yard based on one performance, but the general trend is towards the yard’s horses’ wellbeing, and reports are that Imperial Commander is very well. The Alan King horses have just not caught fire this week yet as they normally do, and there is a doubt about Choc Thornton’s fitness after his fall from Big Zeb yesterday. Okay, so McCoy would be a worthy deputy, but Thornton knows the horse inside out, and he is a top class rider, so any change can’t be an advantage. I would be amazed if Tidal Bay were able to bounce back to his best after the season he has had and given the vibes from the yard. That leaves it a winnable race (Our Vic is highly talented obviously, but he is 11 now) and Imperial Commander is still value this morning at 13/2. Given the shape to the race, and ¼ the odds a place, he is an each-way bet.


12th March, 2009