Outlook thaws for Commander as all-clear follows first canter

During this period of suspended animation in jumps racing, even a single canter by the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner represents a pretty major development. The one completed by Imperial Commander yesterday was his first since a successful reappearance at Haydock 12 days ago, in the course of which he sustained a gashed foreleg. And it emboldened his trainer to confirm him right back on target for a showdown with Kauto Star at Kempton on Boxing Day.

When the bandages were removed on Monday, Nigel Twiston-Davies was positive about the rate of healing but admitted he could not yet commit the horse to the William Hill King George VI Chase. After seeing him restored to exercise, however, the trainer was happy to give the all-clear. "It has been causing us anxiety," he admitted. "But we're really happy and think we're going to get to Kempton now. We have plenty of time – the horse was as fit as a flea before this happened."

Twiston-Davies is next hoping that his son, Sam, will today win an appeal against a careless riding suspension picked up at Kempton last week. As things stand, he will not be eligible to ride Little Josh when that horse returns to the scene of their recent, shared breakthrough, at Cheltenham on Saturday week.

In the meantime, the Turf stands hard as iron. Even the emergency all-weather fixture at Lingfield today is not certain to survive, with heavy snow yesterday warranting an inspection at 6am. Meetings as distant as next Wednesday are already in doubt – the hilltop track at Hexham is under two feet of snow.

But there is a glimmer of hope for a thaw in some parts this weekend. With snow on the track at Sandown, it may come too late to save tomorrow's card, but rather milder temperatures are being predicted for Saturday. The clerk of the course yesterday reported that the frost had come out of the ground, but remained concerned by a forecast of more snow overnight. The loss of tomorrow's fixture would be a blow to connections of Punchestowns, one of the leading novice chasers of last season, who have targeted what looks an ideal comeback race on the card.

Mr Greeley, one of the leading sires in the United States, has been put down after suffering laminitis complications. His progeny had made an increasing impact in Europe through the likes of Reel Buddy and Finsceal Beo.

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Franco Is My Name (3.05 Lingfield) Ran up a sequence of four last winter, from a base of 60, and cosy Kempton success last month off 78 suggests he is ready to resume the upward curve.

Next best

The Wonga Coup (7.0 Wolverhampton) Transformed by a summer off, relishing this 12f trip under an inexperienced rider before failing by just a head dropped to 10f last time.

One to watch

Prince De Beauchene (Howard Johnson) Looked a chaser to follow at Haydock in the spring and has shaped with promise on both starts since his return, latterly when going well for a long way when fifth at Newbury last Saturday.

Where the money's going

Long Run is 6-1 from 7-1 with the sponsors for the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind-the-scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Algo-Developer (BDD/TDD, ASP.NET, JavaScript, RX)

£45000 - £69999 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Algo-Develo...

Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, Apache Mahout, Python,R,AI)

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

Data Scientist (SQL,Data mining, data modelling, PHD, AI)

£50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...

Java Developer - 1 year contract

£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone