Imperial Aura will be hoping for Haydock success on Saturday
Imperial Aura will be hoping for Haydock success on Saturday

Trainer Kim Bailey believes Imperial Aura can put his last two races behind him as he prepares to make a seasonal appearance next week.

The eight-year-old is set to return to Grade One level next Saturday at Haydock in the Betfair Chase and will seek to put two poor races behind him.

Last autumn, he came back after a seven-month break to win the Listed Colin Parker Intermediate Chase at Carlisle and then made the step up to win a Grade Two event at Ascot three weeks later.

However, after Christmas, things took a turn for the worse. Firstly, he was unable to finish a Grade Two race at Kempton after he unseated jockey David Bass.

Then, in his first attempt at Grade One in the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, he was pulled up and hasn't raced since.

However, afterward, it was revealed he broke a blood vessel due to the quickness of the race.

Speaking ahead of Imperial Aura'a return next week, Bailey said he has fully recovered after undergoing an operation and is in ideal condition.

Kim Bailey is confident of a strong performance from Imperial Aura
Kim Bailey is confident of a strong performance from Imperial Aura

He said: "At Cheltenham, I've never seen horses go that fast in my life and he ended up breaking a blood vessel, probably from the stress of going that quick. 

"But he jumped well at Cheltenham until he got tired.

"He has had a breathing operation over the summer and seems in a really good place. I think you just have to walk away from the second half of last season.

"He has always been a horse that I felt would be better over a longer trip, though he is quite a quick horse. Going back up to three miles shouldn't be a problem. 

"It is a flat track at Haydock and I think the race will suit him."

Imperial Aura will face competition from last year's winner Bristol De Mai, with Nigel Twiston-Davies's 10-year-old well-fancied to impress once more.

Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up A Plus Tard is also in the reckoning while Royale Pagaille, a winner at Grade Two level, also has claims.

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