Nigel Twiston-Davies is aiming to complete Imperial Commander's serious preparation for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup with a racecourse gallop this weekend.
The 2010 winner is a frequent visitor to tracks away from competitive action and his trainer remains confident that despite reaching the venerable age of 12, he can still give his younger opponents a run for their money.
The course specialist has been dogged by injury since his prestigious success and was pulled up lame when attempting to defend his title a year later.
Returning to action for the first time since the 2011 mishap in the Argento Chase at Cheltenham last month, Imperial Commander was involved in a thrilling battle with Cape Tribulation and only just came off second best.
The returning hero appeared in decent nick when cantering up the trainer's gallops at Grange Hill Farm in Naunton on Monday.
Twiston-Davies said: "I was hoping to take him to Newbury on Saturday, but they won't let us. They want us to go on Sunday, and if I can't find anywhere on Saturday or this week then we may go on the Sunday."
Reflecting on the Argento run, he said: "It was astonishingly good. If you'd offered me that second, I'd have been delighted as he'd had such a bad run up to it.
"He'd fractured the splint bone, he'd been swimming a lot but only had four weeks cantering, and maybe that's not really enough. He doesn't seem an awful lot worse than he was three years ago."
The handler is not a subscriber to the 'bounce factor', where horses returning from a long absence can run well on their reappearance, only to disappoint next time.
He went on: "I thought that was when you come back very quick. This is six weeks, so we're not coming back very quick. We let him down a bit, he didn't do anything the week after, and we've brought him back very gently. I can't see that."
25 August 2014Void race drama at Epsom
Haydock on Extortionist radar
Palmer eyes Solario for Aktabantay
Kenny receives upbeat prognosis
Murphy aims high with dynamic duo
Euphrasia camp assess options
No rush on Thunder return
Pankhurst makes a stand in Solario
Toast team proud in defeat
Light passes Trial test
Glen shows Curragh sparkle
Ansgar strikes in Goodwood raid
Ribbons cuts down Romanet field
Frankie has Wow factor
Intrinsic returns dirty scope
No hurry for Cookie target
Doncaster date for Seal
Gatsby set for Australia rematch
24 August 2014Weld preparing Champions team
Hanagan admits Tag disappointment
Spencer 'might' return one day
Ribbons back for Group One test
Ascot aces collide in Morny
Ainippe in Cheveley Park reckoning
Kazeem in Winter wonderland
Murtagh magic rubs off on Steward
Celebration time for Johnston
Muhaarar pounces in Gimcrack
Gallant Doyle in Melrose drama
Malabar books ticket to big time
Custom made to measure
23 August 2014Light leading Trial field
Jamesie on top in thriller
Convergence takes Futurity test
Niven boxing Clever in Ebor
Shea Shea bows out
Enterprise likely for Eagle
Atzeni new Qatar number one
Hughes flicks Power switch
Ab fab in Listed contest
Mimosa clinches Cup glory
Glenard comes good at York
Fiddes living dream in Gimcrack
Kazeem in Winter wonderland
Cat camp wary of 'bounce'
22 August 2014Telescope going international
Byron well versed for Renaissance
Punters' Pall ready for Ebor
Great War out of Gimcrack
Reserves denied Ebor run
Applause sent to the Tower
McCoy records fastest century
Tapestry weaves Taghrooda downfall
Spencer to hang up riding boots
Mukhadram 'sore' after York
Slade 'unlikely' to run at Haydock
Tiggy takes Lowther by storm
Haggas strikes again at York
Signs good for big Estimate run
Power chases Nunthorpe double
Yar makes Ebor cut