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Commander is still in the Gold Cup running

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 14, 2013

  • in front: Imperial Commander, ridden by Paddy Brennan, leads Denman, ridden by AP McCoy, in the Gold Cup

  • in the running: The Giant Bolster

  • Monbeg Dude

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FORMER winner Imperial Commander and last year's runner-up The Giant Bolster remain in contention for the £550,000 Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The county duo featured among a star-studded list of 24 challengers for the blue riband event, including favourite Bobs Worth, after the names of the horses which have been scratched from the championship races at the Festival were released yesterday.

Imperial Commander made an encouraging return from long-term injury for Nigel Twiston-Davies' stable in Guiting Power when he finished a close second at Cheltenham last month.

The 2010 Gold Cup hero is set to be joined in this year's line-up on March 15 by The Giant Bolster, beaten by only Jonjo O'Neill's Synchronised in the race last year and second at Newbury on Saturday.

The Giant Bolster's trainer David Bridgwater could still have two runners in the Gold Cup because the Stow-on-theWold handler has left in Wyck Hill, favourite for the Racing Plus Chase at Kempton on Saturday week.

O'Neill's stable in Temple Guiting could be represented by last year's Grand National runner-up Sunnyhillboy, while Wayward Prince might make the trip from owner/trainer Hilary Parrott's stable in Redmarley and Martin Keighley could run Champion Court.

Gloucester Rugby stars James Simpson-Daniel and Mike Tindall could go for glory with their Welsh National hero Monbeg Dude, who might run next in the Grand National Trial at Haydock on Saturday.

Cheltenham Racecourse chairman Robert Waley-Cohen is planning to run his 2011 Gold Cup winner Long Run.

Tom George has ruled out Mail De Bievre, who was fifth on his debut for the Slad handler at Newbury on Saturday.

However, the exciting French recruit remains in contention for the £275,000 Ryanair Chase and could be added to the field for the £350,000 Sportingbet Queen Mother Champion Chase.

O'Neill's three-time Festival winner Albertas Run heads the 27 horses going forward for the Ryanair, which he won in 2010 and 2011.

As well as Mail De Bievre, his possible rivals include Twiston-Davies' high-class chaser Little Josh and Champion Court from Keighley's stable near Stow-on-the-Wold.

Only nine horses have been left in the Champion Chase on March 13, mainly because hot favourite Sprinter Sacre looks unbeatable.

Twiston-Davies could still run likely long-shot Ransom Note in the £400,000 Stan James Champion Hurdle on March 12.

The seven-time winner on the Flat was among 22 remaining entries for the race, including 2011 winner Hurricane Fly and last year's winner Rock On Ruby.

Champion Court and O'Neill's top hurdler Get Me Out Of Here could still run in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle on March 14, but George has ruled out Crack Away Jack.

BETFRED CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP ENTRIES: Bobs Worth, Bog Warrior, Cape Tribulation, Captain Chris, Champion Court, China Rock, Finian's Rainbow, First Lieutenant, Imperial Commander, Jessies Dream, Katenko, Long Run, Monbeg Dude, Prince De Beauchene, Quel Esprit, Quito De La Roque, Silviniaco Conti, Sir Des Champs, Sunnyhillboy, Teaforthree, The Giant Bolster, Wayward Prince, What A Friend, Wyck Hill.

SCRATCHED: Bold Sir Brian, Calgary Bay, Flemenstar, Grands Crus, Hey Big Spender, Hunt Ball, Joncol, Junior, Kauto Stone, Knockara Beau, Mail De Bievre, Riverside Theatre, Roberto Goldback, Sizing Europe, Tidal Bay, Weapon's Amnesty.

SPORTINGBET QUEEN MOTHER CHAMPION CHASE ENTRIES: Cue Card, Finian's Rainbow, Realt Dubh, Sanctuaire, Sizing Europe, Somersby, Sprinter Sacre, Tataniano, Wishfull Thinking.

SCRATCHED: Edgardo Sol, Flemenstar, Free World, Kumbeshwar, Rubi Light, Shooters Wood, Simonsig, William's Wishes.

RYANAIR CHASE ENTRIES: Albertas Run, Call The Police, Champion Court, China Rock, Cue card, Finian's Rainbow, First Lieutenant, For Non Stop, Ghizao, Grands Crus, Hidden Cyclone, Little Josh, Mail De Bievre, Menorah, Mr Gardner, Prince De Beauchene, Quel Esprit, Riverside Theatre, Roi Du Mee, Rubi Light, Sir Des Champs, Sizing Europe, Somersby, Tataniano, Walkon, Wishfull Thinking, Zaynar.

SCRATCHED: Blazing Tempo, Bless The Wings, Bog Warrior, Bold Sir Brian, Flemenstar, Kauto Stone, Lambro, Poquelin, Realt Dubh, Stagecoach Pearl, Unioniste, William's Wishes.

STAN JAMES CHAMPION HURDLE ENTRIES: Balder Succes, Binocular, Cause Of Causes, Cinders And Ashes, Cotton Mill, Countrywide Flame, Flying Cross, Grandouet, Grumeti, Hurricane Fly, Khyber Kim, Oscar Whisky, Overturn, Peddlers Cross, Ransom Note, Raya Star, Rebel Fitz, Rock On Ruby, Steps To Freedom, Thousand Stars, Zaidpour, Zarkandar.

SCRATCHED: Cash And Go, Claret Cloak, Darlan, General Miller, Hisaabaat, King Of Queens, Midnight Game, Pearl Swan, Punjabi, Sadler's Risk, Tango De Juilley, Trifolium.

LADBROKES WORLD HURDLE ENTRIES: Aaim To Prosper, American Spin, Any Given Day, Back In Focus, Bergo, Bog Warrior, Celestial Halo, Champion Court, Cloudy Spirit, Cross Kennon, Fiveforthree, Get Me Out Of Here, Grands Crus, Hollow Tree, Kentford Grey Lady, Monksland, Mossley, Oscara Dara, Oscar Whisky, Peddlers Cross, Prince De Beauchene, Prospect Wells, Quevega, Reve De Sivola, Smad Place, Solwhit, So Young, Tidal Bay, Trustan Times, Whatuthink, Whispering Gallery, Wonderful Charm, Zaidpour.

SCATCHED: Attaglance, Avoca Promise, Bear's Affair, Bensalem, Cape Tribulation, Coneygree, Crack Away Jack, Duke Of Lucca, Dynaste, Fair Along, General Miller, Golden Chieftain, Kauto Stone, Lovcen, Make Your Mark, Marasonnien, Midnight Game, Minella Class, Red Not Blue, Rite Of Passage, Riverside Theatre, Roberto Goldback, Sadler's Risk, Snap Tie, Solix, Thousand Stars, Walkon, Won In The Dark.

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