Trainer Sandy Thomson hopes to have Shades Of Midnight back on the racecourse in the spring.

The nine year-old struck a career high when landing the Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock in February, but has been sidelined ever since.

“He got a touch of a leg when he won the Rendlesham. We’re hopeful to get a spring campaign out of him,” Thomson told Press Association.

“He’s back in work now and we’ll re-scan it at the beginning of January – and hopefully he’ll get the all-clear, and we’ll go from there.

“He’ll probably just stay over hurdles.

“It’s not ideal – but because of his age, it’s a shame to give him the whole season off, and he’s such a gross horse as well. I want to try to keep some of the weight off before he goes off in the summer.

“I’m not saying he’s going to run, but we’re going to try to.”

Thomson added: “The syndicate would love to think he might get to Punchestown and he would go there a fresh horse – but that is a long way off.

“I’m absolutely delighted with him. All looks good and he’s cantering away. After Christmas, it will be scanned and we’ll step him up.”