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Grand National: Ulster's Imperial Commander can take command at Aintree

By Ron McKnight

Imperial Commander, winner of the 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup and top weight in today's Grand National, has strong links with Glengormley.

Imperial Commander was bought by Glengormley-based bloodstock agent Kevin Ross, who is married to top Irish trainer Arthur Moore's daughter, Anna.

The horse was sold to a syndicate of English owners, known as 'Our Friends In The North', and won his sole point to point start at Summerhill for the agent's mother, trainer Eyssen Ross.

Imperial Commander was always lined up to go into training with Nigel Twiston-Davies and has won a total of eight races, including the Betfair Chase, and in excess of £700,000 in prize money for the syndicate.

The son of top jumps stallion Flemensfirth spends the summers at grass and doing his pre-training with the Ross family at their Mount Top stables.

Kevin Ross, who is at the Aintree meeting, said: "Imperial Commander has to carry top weight but has the scope to carry it and I think he is well handicapped.

"The horse is an excellent jumper and should have no problems adapting to the Aintree fences but you need luck in running, especially in the early stages.

"He scoped badly so had to miss this year's Gold Cup but that will leave him fresh on the day.

"The boys (the syndicate) are from both the north and south of England and engaged in various professions and are really looking forward to Saturday."

Kevin Ross is no stranger to Grand National success having partnered Bindaree to win in Ulster point to points when trained by George Stewart at Lisburn before the horse was sold to none other than Nigel Twiston-Davies and won the world's greatest steeplechase in 2002.

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