Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting EJ NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Gold Cup woe for Twiston-Davies
7:30pm Thursday 7th March 2013 in Sport
THE Cotswold 2010 Gold Cup hero Imperial Commander has again been denied the chance to regain his title.
Naunton trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies received a pre- Cheltenham Festival blow after a lung infection ruled the 12- year-old out of the big race a week tomorrow.
Having pulled up with a broken blood vessel in the 2011 showdown, he missed last year through injury but returned impressively at Cheltenham in January when narrowly denied in the Argento Chase.
Twiston-Davies believed Imperial Commander was hitting the kind of form that saw him storm home in 2010 but he now must hope to make April’s Grand National at Aintree.
The 55-year-old said: “He’s got a lung infection so won’t be going to Cheltenham. It’s an absolute sickener but they are very delicate creatures.
“I’m sure he’s still as good as ever, he’s been in great form, but you can’t rush them. Hopefully he’ll be OK for Liverpool.”
The New One, pictured overleaf, is second-favourite for next Wednesday’s Neptune Novices Hurdle and remains a big hope for Twiston-Davies.
Imperial Leader is set for Saturday’s EBF paddypower.com Final at Sandown before running Cheltenham’s Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle a week tomorrow.
Meanwhile, this year’s Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup hopes still burn bright for last year’s 50-1 runner-up The Giant Bolster and his Stow-on-the- Wold trainer David Bridgwater.
The Giant Bolster was only passed by Jonjo O’Neill’s late Synchronised at the last in 2012.
Bridgwater, who retired as a jockey at 27 through injury after riding for Twiston-Davies among others, admitted: “I finally feel like I’m getting noticed and it’s brilliant really.
“You’ve got to be patient. I see a lot of potential Gold Cup horses that are asked to do too much too soon and never fulfil their potential.
“In my eyes, The Giant Bolster was never a 50-1 shot last year.
We got him back on track at Newbury last time and the only race he’s been trained for all season is the Gold Cup again.”