Mint Imperial? Commander heads Haydock betting
Imperial Commander will head a final field of six vying for Lancashire glory in Saturday's Betfair Chase.
Installed at 8-11, the Cheltenham Gold Cup conqueror towers his market rivals in the first Grade One of the season, with William Hill going 11-1 for a Boxing Day double - the Twiston-Davies star to score at both Haydock and Kempton.
In addition, the bookmakers go 5-1 about a seasonal return-steamroller, for a winning margin of over 10 lengths - however a massive 14-1 is available for victory in the fashion of last year's heady culmination, Imperial Commander to score with just a length or under to spare.
With reigning hero Kauto Star opting for the direct route to Kempton, Paul Nicholls enlists the services of Lexus-landing What A Friend (3-1) to confirm Aintree positions.
Furious front-running grey Nacarat takes the stand at 7-1 soon after running them ragged in the Charlie Hall, with Tidal Bay, Chief Dan George and Atouchbetweenacara completing the candidates.
Lucy Rhodes, spokeswoman for William Hill, said: "Who could forget the electrifying conclusion of last year's Haydock hair-raiser, however in the absence of adversary Kauto, can anyone manage to halt The Commander in his endeavours to become Chief?!"
Betfair Chase: 8-11 Imperial Commander, 3-1 What A Friend, 7-1 Nacarat, 8-1 Planet of Sound, 25-1 Tidal Bay, 40-1 Chief Dan George, 100-1 Atouchbetweenacara (EW 1/4 1,2)
Imperial Commander Winning Distance: 5-1 over 10 lengths, 4 to 10 lengths, 8-1 2 to 3 ¾ lengths, 11-1 1 to 1 ¾ lengths, 14-1 under 1 length [bets settled as losers if does not win]
William Hill King George VI Chase & Betfair Chase double: 11-1 Imperial Commander
William Hill King George VI Chase: 11-8 Kauto Star, 6-1 Long Run, 8-1 Imperial Commander, 10-1 What A Friend, 12-1 Forpadydeplasterer, Nacarat, Planet of Sound, 14-1 Punchestowns, Sizing Europe, 16-1 Albertas Run, Cooldine, 20-1 Burton Port, Weird Al, 25-1 Deep Purple, Madison Du Berlais, Riverside Theatre, Tranquil Sea, 33-1 Captain Cee Bee, Mad Max, The Nightingale, 50-1 BAR (EW ¼ 1,2,3)
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