Imperial Commander is aiming to emulate the great Golden Millen by adding the Grand National to his list of honours after already winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2010.
Nigel Twiston-Davies’ runner was set for another shot at the blue riband event at the Festival earlier this month but was ruled out of the race through injury. He is expected to be fully fit for the showpiece at Aintree though over 4m4f next month, where he is likely to enjoy the bigger obstacles.
If he does run, Imperial Commander will have to carry top weight of 11-10 and become the first horse since Red Rum in 1974 to do so with that allowance. Tidal Bay was set to be at the top of the card before he was withdrawn last month through injury.
Ever since winning the Gold Cup in 2010 where he beat both Kauto Star and Denman in a memorable race at Presbury Park, he has struggled to remain fit. He has run on just four occasions since then, winning once in the 2010 Betfair Chase at Haydock where he finished ahead of Tidal Bay in Lancashire.
He made his long awaited return this year after just under two years off the track in the Argento Chase at Newbury where he finished a respectable second behind Cape Tribulation. Twiston-Davies was hoping that would springboard a follow up at Cheltenham but he was ruled out of the Gold Cup just a week before the big race.
Not only does he have Imperial Commander entered in the Grand National, but also Major Malarkey and Viking Blond. Both of the latter need other horses to pull out of the race before they make the maximum 40-runner field in Merseyside.