It has today been confirmed that Imperial Commander will miss the King Geroge VI Chase at Kempton On Boxing Day due to injury, and will now go straight to the Cheltenham Festival to defend his Gold Cup crown. The Nigel Twiston-Davies horse had been aimed at Kempton for some time but he has failed to recover from the cut leg he sustained when winning the Betfair Chase at Haydock last month. Connections have decided to scratch him from the race as he looks to recover from the cut and he will not run before the Festival in March. It had been thought that Imperial Commander would perhaps take in the Argento Chase in January if he missed the King George, but that has also been scrapped meaning he will defend his Gold Cup in March without having a run since November.
The news about Imperial Commander means that Kauto Star has shortened up in the betting for his 5th consecutive King George, while it remains to be seen how the absence from the track will affect Imperial Commander when he arrives at the 2011 Cheltenham Festival. He has a great record at Cheltenham over the past couple of years and that alone means Imperial Commander will go to the Cheltenham Gold Cup well backed for a second successive win. Nigel Twiston-Davies is always bullish about his Gold Cup winner and the sport as well as the bookmakers will relish another clash between him and Kauto Star at Cheltenham come March. Kauto Star himself was impressive in winning at Down Royal on seasonal debut, and if he produces another sizzling display at Kempton he will no doubt be cut into favouritism for the Gold Cup as he aims to win the race for a third time.