Commander under orders to star at the Grand National
TRAINER Nigel Twiston-Davies says Imperial Commander is likely to take his chance under top weight in the John Smith's Grand National at Aintree.
The 12-year-old winner returned from a near-two year absence with a fine run in defeat in the Argento Chase at Cheltenham in January, but a lung infection denied him the chance to reclaim his Gold Cup crown earlier this month.
Connections have been keen to bide their time before committing Imperial Commander to a run in the National, but it appears he is now set to line up on Saturday week, provided conditions are not too testing.
Twiston-Davies told Racing UK: "It looks like he'll be running in the National, unless it's very deep.
"It's very exciting."
Wyck Hill has been ruled out of the big race by trainer David Bridgwater.
The nine-year-old suffered a badly-cut leg when disappointing on his first run for leading owner JP McManus in the Racing Plus Chase at Kempton last month.
Bridgwater said: "He had a nasty gash after Kempton and, unfortunately, that meant we had to miss a couple of weeks with him.
"He's back in full work now and he's fine, but we just missed too much work with him, so we're run out of time for Aintree.
"We'll have to wait another year to have a crack at the National, but there are plenty of options for him for the end of this season.
"There is the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown and Punchestown, so we'll see."
Irish Independent Sport Star Awards
Pick our magic sports moment of the year and win a trip for two to London. To view the shortlist and cast your vote click here.