Brian Hughes expressed his satisfaction after partnering 32Red King George VI Chase contender Waiting Patiently in a post-racing workout at Hexham on Wednesday.
Ruth Jefferson’s stable star has not been seen in competitive action since beating the popular Cue Card to claim Grade One glory in February’s Ascot Chase, but he is closing in on a comeback.
With a stablemate giving him a lead throughout, Waiting Patiently went less than a circuit under Hughes – who had earlier ridden a treble – and jumped four fences accurately.
Hughes is now looking forward to a trip to Kempton Park on Boxing Day.
The jockey told Press Association Sport: “It wasn’t really a gallop, to be honest. It was just a case of letting him having a day away having not run in a while.
“He cantered behind his lead horse and jumped the fences well and Ruth was happy with him.
“From my point of view he felt great and was nice and settled.”
Waiting Patiently is a best-priced 6-1 second-favourite for the King George, with last year’s winner Might Bite the 3-1 market leader.
Hughes added: “It’s obviously going to be a tough ask – running in a King George on his first run of the season – but it is what it is.
“He feels as well as ever and we’re looking forward to it.”