Imperial Commander came through a crucial racecourse workout with flying colours as the 2010 Gold Cup hero passed another test on his way to the Betfair Chase.
The 11-year-old, who has been sidelined since being pulled up in the 2011 Gold Cup, worked two miles at Towcester in the hands of his regular race partner Paddy Brennan.
The big race at Haydock on November 24, which Imperial Commander won two years ago, is still very much the plan for the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained gelding.
"The enthusiasm in Paddy's voice when he phoned me shortly before 8.00am told me everything I needed to know. He was delighted with Imperial Commander's performance," part-owner Ian Robinson said in his blog on www.imperial-horseracing.com
"Imperial worked over two miles with an unraced four-year-old bumper horse (who is very highly regarded), finishing upsides and showing plenty of enthusiasm.
"Overall, Imperial gave him a much better feel than in his final Warwick workout before the 2011 Gold Cup, and was moving as well as he has in the last three years.
"Whilst he had a good blow afterwards, his recovery rate suggests he will arrive at the Betfair Chase ready to do himself justice."
Brennan, too, could not contain his delight. "Very happy with Imperial Commander this morning, his class is still firmly intact. Can't wait for Haydock," tweeted the jockey.
David Bridgwater reports last season's Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up The Giant Bolster to be on target for the Merseyside feature.
He said: "The Betfair Chase is the likely starting point for The Giant Bolster. He has been all right since he came back from his summer break and is in good form. We have got the same campaign mapped out as everybody else. After Haydock, it will be the King George and then the Gold Cup."
9 December 2013Swan delighted with Changer
Wolverhampton to replace surface
Ground key to Topper plans
African chasing Uttoxeter spoils
Prince set for Cheltenham Gold run
Russell aims for Thursday return
Betfair goal for Trouble
Bright start for New Dawn
Twin lights up Hilly Way
Durkan stroll for Arvika
Unioniste has Lexus aim
New One heading to International
Drowne in hospital after fall
Baby in running for Warwick
Moore sets sights on Kempton
Cloud and Lantern sunk in Mile
8 December 2013Twin lights up Hilly Way
Ex-Oxx ace Mofeed lifts Cup
Kanaloa sizzles in Sprint
Dominant shocks The Fugue in Vase
Turner back in business
Faugheen in impressive strike
Flemenstar out of John Durkan
Unioniste claims Listed prize
Grugy great in Tingle Creek
V for victory for Henderson
Chance best in Becher thriller
Hinterland reigns in Henry VIII
Mullins strikes with Gitane
7 December 2013V for victory for Henderson
Twinlight out to show the Way
Wyck primed for big Aintree run
Dandino and Rock miss Vase run
Bec puzzler for Lavelle
Moore's Vino is vintage stuff
Mullins sets sights on Navan
Captain taking charge for Henderson
George plots Aintree gold rush
King out to reign in Henry VIII
Newcastle in talks over AW track
Sir champing at bit for Durkan date
Baby on board for Becher
6 December 2013Carberry sidelined for weekend
Dunaden 'back to his best'
Glance sights fixed on Cup glory
Strawbridge coy over Cloud future
Sire out to profit from Sacre blow
Queen awarded ROA honour
Three-month ban for Arnold
Contrite Butler must 'rebuild life'
Nicholls watching ground for Roque
Topper tests Future waters
Murphy hit by nine-day ban
Big field for Becher
Sacre forced out of Sandown return
Cadeaux team enjoying the ride
Lantern burning bright once more