Kim Bailey’s First Flow could resume operations in Sandown in December, as Grade One Tingle Creek is a possible starting point for the new season.
The nine-year-old was a three-time winner last season, starting his campaign with back-to-back handicap wins at Ascot and Wetherby before successfully moving up to Level 1 at Clarence House in Ascot.
Races in both the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham and the Punchestown Champion Chase resulted in a sixth place finish, after which the gelding underwent minor surgery after discovering he had kissed thorns.
The Tingle Creek Chase is a possible seasonal return for the horse, with another race at Ascot also under consideration as Bailey intends to hold out on loose ground.
“Tingle Creek is a possibility where we could go back to Ascot and increase it to two and a half miles,” he said.
“It’s so tied to the terrain for him. He’s definitely a better right-handed horse so we need a wet winter.
“I didn’t think it was sweet enough the first time he won at Ascot last season and because of that he was very far from the bridle, but he stuck, which suggests he might go further.
“It may get deep in Sandown, but we’ll also have to watch what Mr. Henderson is doing with Shishkin.
“He’s a complete gem – he’s a little eccentric, but that’s what makes good horses.”
Imperial Aura is another horse trained by Bailey who had a flawless start to the campaign last season, winning the Listed Colin Parker Chase and following that performance on to another success in the 1965 Grade Two Chase at Ascot.
His next run was cut short when he knocked down jockey David Bass at the second fence of the Silviniaco Conti Chase and a tilt at Ryanair Chase in Cheltenham also ended in misfortune as the eight-year-old was pulled when a blood vessel ruptures.
The bay will now retreat three miles and is expected to begin its campaign in the Grade One Betfair Chase at Haydock in late November.
“Imperial Aura is probably going to go straight to the Betfair Chase as it is now screaming to go over three miles,” Bailey said.
“He had a wind operation over the summer and he looks a lot stronger than he was around this time last year.
“It was very unfortunate that he parted ways with David (Bass) in Kempton, then he broke a blood vessel in Cheltenham, but I’ve never seen a race run as fast as Ryanair.
“I think he will come back a stronger horse and three miles will suit him. I don’t know how much is yet to come, but three miles will make a big difference, I hope.”
Absent from Bailey this season, the seven-year-old hunter Happygolucky, who was last seen winning the Grade Three Betway Handicap Chase at the Grand National Festival in Aintree and has since suffered an injury that will put him on the sidelines until next year.
“He’s not in this season,” Bailey said of the gelding.
“Unfortunately he has a slight injury. I could bring him back to Christmas for the second half of the season, but I decided not to. One year will not be the end of the world with him and I really hope when he comes back next season, he’ll be fine. “