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."
20 April 2014Joe ready for Cork outing
Lennon looking to call tune
Ground holds key to Tonto show
Lucky escape for Cook
Lyons backs Brackan
Brookhouse turns to Crawford
Mind called up for National service
Weld and Smullen keep up good work
Whiskey shows winning spirit
Brook another for Russell team
Zurigha blossoms in Snowdrop
Planning pounces at Haydock
Escalating moving on up
Buntline bidding for more
Rebel all set for big Powers test
19 April 2014Bolger on mark with double
Elliott calling on Toner
Fry taking Bold route at Haydock
Snowdrop test for Ribbons
Classic redemption for Grandeur
Hanagan the star man for Fahey
Doyle pounces with classy Cat
Litigant goes Marathon distance
Guineas hope Ertijaal delivers
Life's good for Kirby and McEntee
Moss ready to roll for Brown
Tigers on the prowl for Teal
18 April 2014'Legend' Border just denied
Hanagan the star man for Fahey
Hardie makes history on View
Ready to undergo heart scan
Cantlow tops Irish National weights
Arvika career in balance
Bally stars in Powers quartet
Royal target for classy Cappella
Obliterator future excites Lyons
Chasing plan for As I Am
Killough does it again in Sefton
Toormore claims Craven
Hamza holds on in Abernant
Wonder-ful double for Godolphin
Grugy all set for Sandown defence
Vaughan hoping for Bay of plenty
Muir keen to make a Point in Sprint
Newmarket will suit Canarias - Leon
17 April 2014Maguire on the mend
Basem impresses on Ditton debut
Spirit strikes for Hannon
Ertijaal bids to enhance reputation
George prepares Irish raiding party
Module heading to Punchestown
Doyle seeking Fairyhouse pointers
True class tells at Newmarket
Sandiva strikes for Dettori
Power runs Free at Newmarket
Magnus magic for Hannon
Cantlow on track for Fairyhouse
Kingman well-being delights Gosden
Kiyoshi pleases in Newmarket spin
Judge lays down law in Sefton
Toormore on trial in Craven