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."
30 October 2014Aktabantay out of Breeders' Cup
Tearless secures Good Friday ticket
Overnight stay for Johnson
Crawford banks on Izzini progress
Toast could make Spencer think
Tearless takes Lingfield honours
Road charts route to Royal riches
Johnson taken to hospital
Grece excels at Saint-Cloud
Hawk given Greatwood option
Royal summons for Apache
Hannon: Early speed key for Osaila
Bowe takes aim at WKD bullseye
Hootenanny 'smoking' for BC mission
Avenue roads lead to Newmarket
Shu to be kept busy
Scu sweet on Sensation Ascot raid
Murtagh succumbs to Cup charms
Dandino to stay in Australia
Glance denied Mackinnon defence
Bailey ace rules Supreme at Taunton
O'Brien hit by Magician blow
Diablo in big-race picture
Buckley raises Toast to Osborne
Pastille seeking four-timer
Conti all set for Charlie Hall
Barnes out to storm Saint-Cloud
Williams issues Buywise warning
Lynam reveals Slade stalls fears
29 October 2014Lame Magician out of Breeders' Cup
Diablo in big-race picture
Mullins enters strong Hennessy team
Damaged hock behind Estid reverse
Eckhart team rocked by injury blow
Hunt Ball makes Power play
Morgiana a T bone of contention
Kirby ponders Buttons French raid
Glance camp turn to Williams
Wohler trusts 'professional' Moore
Red alert to Cup challenge
Head targets more Mile glory
Mile hope Toronado in 'great form'
Telescope camp banking on Moore
Twiston-Davies link excites Moore
Flying third to Bob on hurdling bow
Harden to test top staying waters
Godolphin take share in Belardo
Mullins has big guns at Down Royal
Annacotty set for Kempton return
Powell and Bradley cleared
28 October 2014Fingal camp on weather watch
More injury woe for Popham
Dickin unveils Thomas gameplan
Power stalls in Flemington spin
Toast drawn nine in BC Classic
My Ambivalent passed fit by vets
Harry out to bring House down
Three and easy for ton-up Hanagan
Wood carves out Galway verdict
More Of That in Wetherby frame
Big guns confirmed for Charlie Hall
Byron pencilled in for Far East
Newbury reverts to original title
Magician to stay in the US
Henderson considers hurdles for Bob
27 October 2014Mountainous back on National trail
Ground to dictate Gold run
Elite aim for Rendezvous
Classic dreams at Leopardstown
Smullen celebrates seventh title
Cheltenham target for Module
Pete shows his Aintree mettle
Royal-Oak double for Boistron
Starchitect in surprise strike
New One given Haydock mission
Balding excited by Park prospects
Sights set high for Crafty