Imperial's comeback on course

Haydock date on cards for Cup hero

IMPERIAL Commander is set for an imminent return to training with Nigel Twiston-Davies ahead of a likely tilt at the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November.

THE 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero won the Betfair Chase the following season, but was pulled up lame when defending his crown in the Prestbury Park blue riband in March last year.

The leg injury he sustained at Cheltenham has since kept the 11-year-old out of action, but his pre-training in Ireland is coming to an end and connections are looking forward to seeing him back in full work before the end of the month.

Part-owner Hugh Doubtfire said: "Imperial Commander is still in Ireland and he has done plenty of road work and cantering.

"He's recently been scanned again and all is well, so I think he will be returning to Nigel's in the next week or so.

"Everything has gone well up to now.

"We're obviously taking it day by day with him, not because anything is wrong, but obviously it is quite a big ask for the horse after 18 months off to go straight into a Grade One.

"The Betfair Chase is the aim at the moment, and we'll see as we go along with him.

"He has done his pre-training and that will be stepped up when he gets back to Nigel's."

Less than a month after Imperial Commander's final run at Cheltenham, regular rider Paddy Brennan stepped down as Twiston-Davies' stable jockey.

The trainer's son, Sam Twiston-Davies, now rides the majority of his father's string, but Doubtfire expects Brennan to keep the ride on Imperial Commander.

He said: "As far as I am aware, he is still Paddy's ride, but it's not something we've really talked about.

"We've obviously been more concerned about trying to get the horse back on track than who will ride him.

"All I would say is that the chances of anyone else riding him are slim."

Leading contender Danadana will miss the Betfred Cambridgeshire at Newmarket on September 29, trainer Luca Cumani has revealed.

Ante-post markets have been left in a state of flux, with the sponsors other initial joint-favourite, Chil The Kite, far from certain to line-up.

Danadana had been saddled with top-weight of 9st 10lb after winning the Zetland Gold Cup at Redcar in June before following up at York.

But Cumani wrote on his website: "(Danadana) won't be seen out again until next year -- even Dubai will come too soon for him - after sustaining a bone injury."

Hughie Morrison, while not ruling it out completely, conceded a Cambridgeshire bid would not be ideal for Chil The Kite (8st 7lb), who is due to switch to Listed level at Haydock on Saturday.

He said: "Chil The Kite won at Ascot in July and he will run (at Haydock). He's been off the course for six or seven weeks now but there are very few opportunities for progressive mile three-year-olds.

"You either go in a handicap at York or go for a Group Three.

"We decided that was not the right way to go in the short term and to go for a Listed race -- but it's more like a Group race.

"I'm not that keen on running three-year-olds in very competitive older-horse handicaps.

"We've won these races with the likes of Supaseus (in 2009), who was inconsistent but really was a Group horse -- he ran very well in Group races.

"A younger horse running at level weights against older horses is a very tough ask and it's a very tough race.

"We might end up there but it's against my better judgment, to be honest."

James Fanshawe will assess ground conditions at Doncaster and the Curragh next week before firming up plans for High Jinx.

The four-year-old notched a career-best effort when he was upped to two miles and Group Two company in the Lonsdale Cup at York last time.

High Jinx finished a two-and-a-quarter-length second to Times Up on the Knavesmire, with the Gain Horse Feeds Irish St Leger on Saturday week now a possible target.

However, Fanshawe is also planning to enter the High Chaparral colt in the Stobart Doncaster Cup 24 hours earlier on Town Moor.

"The plan with him will really depend on the ground," said the Newmarket handler.

"He's entered in the Irish St Leger and we will give him an entry in the Doncaster Cup next week, too.

"He just doesn't want the ground too firm so we will have to see."