No confidence in Call

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Imperial Call was eased in Cheltenham Gold Cup betting yesterday after a workout at Clonmel racecourse satisfied his trainer and jockey, but not the bookmakers' spies.

Ladbrokes pushed him out to 5-1 (from 4-1), with their spokesman, Simon Clare, saying: "There have been doubts surrounding Imperial Call for some time and we haven't seen a penny for him in recent weeks. Today's below- par workout only confuses the picture further."

But the gelding's jockey, Conor O'Dwyer, said he was satisfied with the horse, two weeks before he defends the Gold Cup. "I'm happy enough that the horse is in good form," he said. "It's the first time I've sat on him since the Hennessy and he felt a good bit stronger."