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Twiston-Davies ready to resurrect Imperial ambition at Cheltenham

Imperial Commander could bid to get his Gold Cup dream back on track in the Letheby & Christopher Chase at Cheltenham later this month.

Last season's Ryanair Chase hero put up a fantastic performance to get within a nose of Kauto Star in the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November and was expected to provide the latter with another stern test in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on St Stephen's Day.

However, while Kauto Star raced into the history books with a fourth consecutive triumph in the race, Imperial Commander could only finish a weary fifth, but trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies is confident he can bounce back. His Festival victory last year came on the back of a disappointing show at Kempton giving connections hope. "He came out of the race fine. He just made that very bad mistake at the second fence and he was never able to recover from it," said the Naunton handler.

"People will say he can't go that way round but I wouldn't be worried about going right-handed with him again in the future. We'll have a good think about what we do next but a lot of it will be down to the weather. We'll certainly have a look at the Letheby & Christopher Chase (January 30) back at Cheltenham."

Tony McCoy is reportedly none the worse following his nasty spill at Plumpton on Sunday. The champion jockey looked to have landed on his shoulder and was kicked as he came off Teeming Rain in the feature At The Races Sussex National. However, his agent, Dave Roberts, is pleased to report he will be ready to return to the saddle as soon as the weather allows him to. "He's fine and will be ready to ride when there is some racing," said Roberts.

Leading Champion Hurdle contender Khyber Kim remains firmly on course for a tilt at the totesport Trophy at Newbury next month.

"At the moment the eight-year-old's in good form and all being well he heads to Newbury," said trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies.


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