Cape Tribulation Steps Up in Argento
1 Cape Tribulation 7/1
The Malcolm Jefferson-trained Cape Tribulation got up on the line for a last-gasp success in the Argento Chase at Cheltenham to put himself firmly in the picture for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.
Hunt Ball gave way in the straight and just as Imperial Commander, the 2010 Gold Cup winner having his first start for 680 days, looked like he had done enough, Cape Tribulation (7-1) dramatically got up on the line.
O'Regan said: "He jumped well, he travelled great and he enjoyed the ground. He's a different horse this year and I'm delighted.
"I missed the second-last and I had to give him a chance to get rolling again. He loves Cheltenham and he tried his heart out. He's a very tough horse when it comes down to it."
Jefferson added: "Now I think we'll probably have to come back for the Gold Cup. I'm not saying he's going to win it, but he might get placed in one, this year's especially. He's in the World Hurdle, but he is jumping so well now I think the Gold Cup is the race he'll go for.
"On his day he's a good horse. Denis was brilliant, but if a horse does everything right these are good jockeys and they know what to do. He might be better on better ground and if could get a place in the Gold Cup that might be better than running with a big weight in a handicap."
Imperial Commander will head straight back to Cheltenham in a bid to reclaim the Betfred Gold Cup following his fine effort in the Argento Chase.
The 12-year-old went agonisingly close to making a triumphant return when he was caught in the dying strides by Cape Tribulation on Saturday, in his first race since he was pulled up in the Gold Cup some 680 days earlier.
Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies told At The Races: "It was heartbreaking to see him mugged on the line, but yet again he showed all his doubters wrong. He can come back and hopefully is as good as ever."
He added: "He's 100%, not a bother on him. It's a relief and in top-class races you always worry a little bit about injuries, but he's never had any horrendous injury. They have only been very minor, they just take time to mend.
"He goes straight to the Gold Cup.
"The bounce factor wouldn't worry me at all. Firstly it's nearly seven weeks, so he can have a break now and we can get him back again.
"I'm not a great believer in bounce factors. I think all he can do is improve."
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