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Imperial Aura to be given rest of the season off

Kim Bailey is to give Imperial Aura the rest of the season off after the nine-year-old broke a blood vessel in the Denman Chase on Saturday.

A Cheltenham Festival winner in 2020, he won his first two races last season, which included a Grade Two at Ascot, but has failed to finish in five subsequent outings.

Having travelled and jumped well for much of Saturday’s race, Imperial Aura slowed considerably before the third-last fence and David Bass was quick to pull him up.

“He broke a blood vessel at Newbury and that is him done for the season now,” said Bailey.

Winning connections of Imperial Aura at the Cheltenham Festival in 2020
Winning connections of Imperial Aura at the Cheltenham Festival in 2020 (Simon Cooper/PA)

“He was running a much better race but David said it happened going into the fence, that is why he jumped the fence then pulled him straight up.

“This season has just been a nightmare with him. He burst a blood vessel (at Cheltenham last March) and he hadn’t done it since until Saturday.

“He is still a good horse and you could see that on Saturday. He hit the front and he was going very nicely then bang – it happened. We’ve got to get it right.

“I think we will give him a good summer out and give him a good MOT before we decide what to do next. The good thing is he is still on one piece.”

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