Paul Nicholls has earmarked the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on February 10 as a potential starting point for Cliffs Of Dover on his comeback from injury.
The four-year-old won six of his seven starts over hurdles last year, but has not been sighted since he claimed victory in a Grade Two contest at Doncaster last December.
Nicholls said: “He is cantering and is doing two canters up the hill every day. He probably won’t be ready to run at Christmas time. I am in no rush with him.
“You wouldn’t go straight into a Christmas Hurdle (Kempton) and I thought he might be ready for what was the Ladbroke at Ascot before Christmas, but he won’t be.
“He is rated 145 so he wants to go in a handicap first before there any thoughts of the Champion Hurdle. We might have him ready for the Betfair Hurdle, so that might be a target. He was well placed last year, but he does have to improve a bit.”
n Annamix, one of Willie Mullins’ exciting French recruits, is out for the season.
The four-year-old gelding, who had been ante-post favourite for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham before he had even made his debut for the Mullins team, has damaged his pelvis.
“He was probably the pick of our novice team,” said owner Rich Ricci.
“Unfortunately, he was lame after work on Saturday and we had him looked at on Monday and he has got a pelvis injury.
“He’s only four. The prognosis is excellent, but he will be out for the season which is devastating for us and for the yard.
“I want to be as transparent as I can be and unfortunately Annamix will not be running this season.
“We only learned about it on Monday afternoon and I wanted to tell punters as we knew. It’s unfortunate but these things happen. Hopefully, he’ll be favourite for the Supreme next year.”
NEWCASTLE: 5.45 Chaucer’s Tale, 6.15 Hisar (next best), 6.45 Blue Havana, 7.15 STRANGE SOCIETY (NAP), 7.45 Right Touch, 8.15 Intermodal, 8.45 Middle Creek, 9.15 Breathoffreshair (treble).
TAUNTON: 12.50 Deyrann De Carjac, 1.20 Comely, 1.50 Ramses De Teillee, 2.20 Pasaka Boy, 2.50 Market Road, 3.20 Midnight Gypsy.
MUSSELBURGH: 1.00 Fight Away Boys, 1.30 Canny Style, 2.00 Middlebrow, 2.30 Silver Concorde, 3.00 Muwalla (treble), 3.30 Karamoko.
TOWCESTER: 12.40 Linenhall, 1.10 Goring One, 1.40 Bastien, 2.10 Cosmic Diamond, 2.40 Arian, 3.10 Kayf Adventure, 3.40 Speedy Gonzalez.