Ben Pauling is keeping his fingers crossed Bright Forecast returns to full fitness to take up and entry in the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

The six year-old was a smart novice hurdler last term, but has not been seen since finishing third in last year’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

The trainer told Press Association: “Bright Forecast is in great form. We are in no hurry with him whatsoever and he will be ready when he is ready.

“He remains a very nice horse and he will be given an entry in the Stayers’ Hurdle as he probably wants that trip.

“If he doesn’t come back for Cheltenham we will probably look at the three-mile Grade One at Aintree. The plan next season will be to go chasing.”