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Imperial Commander and Kauto Star still on for Down Royal

By Jimmy Walker

The prospect of Gold Cup winners Imperial Commander and Kauto Star clashing at Down Royal’s Festival in November is still a possibility.

Both are entered for the feature race, the JNwine.com Champion Chase on November 6.

Top trainer Paul Nicholls has already confirmed that Kauto Star will be back in a bid to repeat his success of 2008 while Imperial Commander is still entered on the list of contenders although there is no clear evidence yet that trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies will declare him.

Entries are expected to be concluded in mid-October.

Nicholls is keen to miss an early clash with the Commander whom he expects to go again for the Betfair Chase at Haydock in which he lost out in a photo-finish to Kauto last year.

Nicholls has nailed his colours to the mast and told me: “I have a good record at Down Royal, having won this race and also being successful with Herecomesthetruth and Noland in the Ladbrokes Novices Chase.

“Again, I’m hopeful of having runners in this race as well but I’m concentrating on Kauto Star and his efforts to land the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park for a record fifth time in a row.

“The horse is in great form at present and expect him to run a big race.”

Nicholls previously won the race with Taranis and was second with See More Business.

Down Royal racing manger Mike Todd said: “We are delighted that Kauto will be given another chance in our feature race.”

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