Commander out of King George


Racing:Reigning Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Imperial Commander has been ruled out of the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton on St Stephens's Day.

The nine-year-old suffered a cut to his leg when making a winning comeback in the Betfair Chase at Haydock last month and connections have now admitted defeat in the race for him to be fit for a Christmas appearance.

While his trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies is not making any definite plans, he admits it is now likely his star turn will head straight back to Cheltenham in March to defend his crown.

"He's out of the King George. He just has a slight infection in his leg and it means we will not be able to get him absolutely cherry-ripe for Kempton," said the Naunton handler. It's nothing serious at all. He will probably go straight to the Gold Cup, but that's not written in stone.

“He’s back on antibiotics and he can’t canter for two weeks. I’m not bottling it, I’d do anything to get him there (King George). We wanted to prove we are the best horse around, but he’ll be at the Gold Cup in March and we’ll do it then.”