Cape Tribulation put himself in the Gold Cup picture with a last-gasp success in the Argento Chase at Cheltenham.
In an attritional renewal, only the winner, Hunt Ball and Imperial Commander were in contention from quite some way out as gruelling conditions took a toll, with Cape Tribulation in the slipstream of the other two under a superb waiting ride from Denis O'Regan.
Hunt Ball gave way in the straight and just as Imperial Commander, the 2010 Gold Cup winner having his first start for 680 days, looked like he had done enough, the Malcolm Jefferson-trained Cape Tribulation (7-1) dramatically got up on the line.
O'Regan said: "He jumped well, he travelled great and he enjoyed the ground. He's a different horse this year and I'm delighted.
"I missed the second-last and I had to give him a chance to get rolling again. He loves Cheltenham and he tried his heart out. He's a very tough horse when it comes down to it."
Jefferson added: "Now I think we'll probably have to come back for the Gold Cup. I'm not saying he's going to win it, but he might get placed in one, this year's especially. He's in the World Hurdle, but he is jumping so well now I think the Gold Cup is the race he'll go for.
"On his day he's a good horse. Denis was brilliant, but if a horse does everything right these are good jockeys and they know what to do. He might be better on better ground and if could get a place in the Gold Cup that might be better than running with a big weight in a handicap."
Nigel Twiston-Davies was full of praise for Imperial Commander.
He said: "You'd have to be delighted and if we'd been able to get him fit enough he probably would have won. It's been so difficult getting him back with his splint problems, but we have kept him swimming and that made all the difference.
"He kept tanking and if he had settled better he would probably have had more of a finishing kick. There are six weeks to to the Gold Cup and that is plenty of time."
1 October 2014Tapestry enters Arc picture
Dettori vies for World rule in Arc
Toocool has American dream
Berkshire on the comeback trail
Dettori given Ruler role
Estidhkaar 'on target' for Dewhurst
Australia leads Champions acceptors
Martin outlines Jack ground hopes
Raiding party heads Opera runners
Autumn aim for North
Shamkala sole Arc withdrawal
Force and Power top Abbaye list
Cadeaux team mull Caulfield date
Limato set for Redcar speed test
Cape set for Concorde test
Telescope sights set on Breeders'
Power primed to storm Abbaye
Creepy excels on chasing bow
Al Kazeem given Arc go-ahead
Buick makes Ivanhowe Arc link
Martin keen on Clonard
Cirrus heads Longchamp billing
Elite aim for Irving
Ribbons run hinges on Paris ground
Quick on course for Ces date
30 September 2014Power heads Abbaye market
No fitness worries for Lemaire
Beaux plans undecided
Foret-bound Byron enjoys workout
Perfect fencing start for Minstrel
Ted takes Roscommon honours
Rain fillip for Treve Arc challenge
Speed not an issue to River camp
Signal on course to Wow in Paris
Ivawood heads Millions field
Top fillies star in Chariot race
Point primed for Abbaye assignment
29 September 2014Logic ruled out for the season
Ansgar in Foret frame
Kalann team consider Champions bid
Peslier and Mosse hunt Arc mounts
O'Brien trio set for Longchamp
High hopes for Elliott team
Berry takes the rails route
River cruises to Beresford glory
Qualify swoops for O'Brien team
Minstrel ready for chasing bow
Tiggy Abbaye run not set in stone
Angel camp ponder Darley raid
Pineau ripe for new season
Mubtaghaa suited by joy of six
Fiesolana fired up for Foret
28 September 2014Keighley holds Court for Cheltenham
Mart makes Newland's day
Spin does the trick at Ripon
Angel heaven-sent for Tregoning
Tiggy takes Cheveley gold
Lodge proves a stroll in Park
Rosalie blossoms for hat-trick
Naylor seeking Paris prize
Integral on course for Chariot
Dettori anticipating 'vintage' Arc