Ericsson for Imperial


IMPERIAL CALL is almost certain to pass up the opportunity of tackling the King George VI Chase at Kempton. Trainer Fergie Sutherland is gearing the Gold Cup winner's whole campaign towards a repeat bid for Cheltenham's chasing blue riband.

Imperial Call, quoted at 4 to 1 by William Hill to retain his crown, is likely to have only four races before returning to the scene of his finest hour last March. I really don't see much point in travelling to Kempton when there are plenty of suitable races at home," said Sutherland yesterday.

His probable target over the Christmas period is the Ericsson Chase at Leopardstown."

The trainer is unconcerned over a slight setback to Imperial Call which could delay his seasonal debut. The seven year old had been pencilled in for the Morris Oil Chase at Clonmel on Thursday week.

He had a little over reach and there must be a slight question mark about him running at Clonmel," he said. "It's a nice little race for him and he won it last year but it's not the most important day of his life."

Sutherland has not mapped any particular races but conceded that there was a possibility of Imperial Call making an appearance in Britain before the Gold Cup.

The trainer's decision to sidestep the King George means there will be no chance for One Man to gain revenge this year.

Gordon Richards' grey was hot favourite to land the Gold Cup but was put firmly in his place by Imperial Call.

One Man is set to make his return to action in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on Saturday. Other leading chasers Barton Bank and Scotton Banks are also expected to take their chance in a race that has been re opened until this morning because of only four entries.

Tom Foley's Danoli has also been whispered as a possible Gold Cup candidate - William Hill quote 33 to 1 - and he may make his debut over fences at Clonmel on Friday in the Beginners' Chase.

. Oscar Schindler has been backed again and is now down to 7 to 2 from 4 to 1 clear favourite for next Tuesday's Melbourne Cup. Pilsudski's Breeders' Cup win only serves to highlight the excellent chance that Oscar Schindler has if he is in top shape on raceday," said Ladbroke's Ian Wassell.

. Kevin Darley has lost his job with multi millionaire owner Peter Savill. The pair are ending a seven year association as a result of Savill's decision to drastically reduce his string in Britain.

Darley, in action at Leicester yesterday, said: "I won't be retained by Peter Savill next season. It was a bit of a shock."