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Commander 'will win' says trainer

Two weeks to the start of the Cheltenham Festival and Nigel Twiston-Davies was yesterday brimming with confidence that he can land the final day feature of the Festival.

Twiston Davies' Gold Cup hero, Imperial Commander, has only been seen in competitive action once this season and has had two racecourse gallops in recent weeks which have seemingly pleased his trainer.

"Imperial Commander is bouncing now," Twiston-Davies said. "He looks great and had a very good racecourse gallop the other day."

Part of the confidence emerges from the fact that Twiston-Davies has not been impressed by any of his Gold Cup rivals so far this season and fears the previous winners Denman and Kauto Star as much as anything.



worrying

"I very much hope he can win the Cheltenham Gold Cup again -- no hugely worrying horse has turned up on the scene and he has to take on the old guard again," he said. "Let's hope he can do so successfully."

Twiston Davies added: "I fear the old brigade of Denman and Kauto Star more than Long Run and Diamond Harry, but he beat them last year. He seems a worthy favourite as I cannot think of a horse who deserves to be in front of him. He will win."

Last year's Gold Cup was billed as a two-horse race between the Paul Nicholls duo of Denman and Kauto Star but this year is a different story.

"We have got the best horse in the country and it is nice to be able to say that," he said.

"Last year we were forgotten and nobody thought we had a chance. So to win the Gold Cup was brilliant. Now I have the champion and he has to beat them all off again."

The confidence vote for Imperial Commander came on the same day as Ladbrokes reported two-time Gold Cup winner Kauto Star to be a positive market mover into 6/1.