NORTH YORKSHIRE trainer Brian Ellison is optimistic Forest Bihan can show his true colours in the Grade Two 32Red Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton on December 27.
The six-year-old has not been sighted since pulling up in last month’s Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter having previously made a winning return to action at Kelso.
Ellison said: “He came back all wrong after Exeter. His bloods were all wrong and he was beaten after the first two fences.
“He travelled overnight for the first time and he didn’t like that. A lot of horses can be like that as they like their home bed.
“He runs next week in the Desert Orchid Chase and at the moment everything is fine and he is in good fettle. He will go down on the morning of the race this time. His blood is fine now. Hopefully it was just a one off and we are expecting a good run.”
n Tom Scudamore is hoping Thistlecrack can prove the doubters wrong when he goes for back-to-back victories in the 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
The nine-year-old disappointed on his comeback from injury when fading into fifth place behind shock winner Beer Googles in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury last month. Connections of Colin Tizzard’s star feel the reason for the below-par display was purely down to a lack of race fitness.
Thistlecrack had been sidelined since being beaten by Many Clouds in an epic finish to the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham in January.
“It felt like he had all his old spark, but just got tired from going to the second last,” said Scudamore.
“He felt the same, he had all his old enthusiasm, but his fitness on this occasion just wasn’t there. Unfortunately the time he had off just got the better of him at Newbury. We’re all hoping from what Colin and Joe tell me he’s been going very well at home, but the proof in the pudding will be on Boxing Day.”
SOUTHWELL: 11.45 Spinning Melody, 12.15 Satchville Flyer, 12.45 Why Me, 1.15 Gustavo Fring (next best), 1.45 Lina’s Star, 2.15 Cresendo, 2.50 GHASEEDAH (NAP), 3.25 Sir Harry Collins.
CHELMSFORD: 5.45 Complicit, 6.15 Artieshow, 6.45 Winds Of Fire, 7.15 Titan Goddess, 7.45 Thaqaffa, 8.15 Cappananty Con (treble), 8.45 La Fortuna.
EXETER: 12.35 Ebonys Encore, 1.05 Casablanca Mix, 1.35 Jarlath, 2.05 Overtown Express, 2.40 Mixchevious, 3.15 Ocean Cove, 3.45 Triopas.
TOWCESTER: 12.25 Awake At Midnight, 12.55 Normandy King, 1.25 Triopas, 1.55 Theo’s Charm, 2.25 Just Your Type, 3.00 Kayfleur, 3.35 Queens Cave.