Kim Bailey has earmarked next month’s Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase as the first potential target for Cheltenham Festival winner Imperial Aura.
The Andoversford trainer may choose the two-and-a-half-mile prize on November 1 as his starting point for the lightly-raced seven-year-old’s season.
In a productive first campaign over fences, the Kalanisi gelding rounded off with victory at the Festival in the Listed Northern Trust Company Novices’ Handicap Chase.
Bailey said: “Imperial Aura has come back from Ireland and he looks very well.
“He will possibly head to Carlisle for the intermediate chase there next month. He will have an entry in the BetVictor (Gold Cup, at Cheltenham), and we will see where we go from there.
“It won’t be a straightforward season for him, but I certainly feel at home he is a stronger horse.
“He didn’t have any issues with his shins last season – which he has done before – however the owners were patient, and we backed off, allowing him to accomplish what he has done.
Vinndication could be stepped back up in class on his get back, with Bailey looking to the Grade Two bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby.
That he said: “He will probably go for the race he didn’t go for this past year, which was the Charlie Hall – because the race he won this past year on the same day at Ascot (Sodexo Gold Cup), he will probably be a bit saturated in the weights for.
“I was disappointed he got beat at in the Ultima at Cheltenham. We were because of take him to Newbury fourteen days before, but they cancelled it – which just tipped the scales away from us.
“I hope this is his year — he has to improve another 10lb to become a Grade One horse, but it will be nice to think he could be. inch
Two For Precious metal claimed Grade Two honours in the penultimate start last season within the Hampton Novices’ Chase at Warwick. However , he could revert to problème company on his return – along with Bailey considering a number of options.
He said: “He can either go to Chepstow next weekend break or Market Rasen a few days afterwards – where there is a new prolonged two-mile-five £36, 000 handicap run after.
“He is an equine that, all being well, is going to be entered in the BetVictor Gold Glass as well. He has won over 3 miles, but he has got luggage of speed.
“We were planning to go to Cheltenham, yet he had a hard race at Ascot on bottomless ground in the Reynoldstown. So we left him alone — and that would have been one competition too many. ”
Newtide was another to strike with Grade Two level over fencing last season, in the Towton Novices’ Chase at Wetherby, and Bailey believes he could be tailor-made with this year’s Coral Welsh Grand Nationwide at Chepstow.
This individual added: “He has had a breeze operation since the end of final season and showed he required that when his wind cut out upon him in the National Hunt Run after at Cheltenham.
“He likes soft ground and he is actually a Welsh Grand National-type horse. It will probably be a hard season for him, as they is high in the handicap for exactly what he won, two novice chases, and the second of them at Wetherby was a bit of a messy race. inch
The Gold Cup-winning trainer expects First Flow to keep his progression over fences whenever getting his ground conditions, getting rattled up a hat-trick in late the season.
He mentioned: “First Flow is a good horse, yet he is so reliant on large ground. He ran some breaking races at Ascot and Sandown, where I never thought this individual was a good enough jumper to go circular. His schooling was good on the end of the season.
“If he gets his terrain this season he will be a contender for that good races over two mls.
“He is a bit such as (1995 Gold Cup winner) Learn Oats. They were not bred to become speed machines – but they simply try and jump. ”