Kim Bailey is praying for rain, and prepared for long-distance travel to find it too, so that First Flow can resume his truncated campaign.
Ayr’s CPMS Scottish Champion Hurdle is one possible option next month for Bailey’s seven-year-old, who must have soft ground and has therefore been restricted by an exceptionally dry winter to just one hugely promising run.
First Flow, whose impressive hat-trick of novice wins last season culminated in the Grade Two Rossington Main at Haydock before the Cheltenham Festival proved a step too far, has been ready to race for much of the season.
But conditions forced Bailey to wait until this month’s Imperial Cup at Sandown, where First Flow belied his near year-long absence with a fine fifth – only for the weather to revert subsequently to near nationwide sunshine.
A frustrated Bailey is contemplating a long haul from his Cotswolds base, and said: “I’m in the lap of the gods. He’s entered in the Scottish Champion Hurdle in the hope it might rain up there.
“Wherever I can find rain for him, he will run.”
Fine forecasts are far from encouraging, though, and Bailey admits he may well have to call time on First Flow’s hurdling exploits and instead send him chasing once the weather breaks – either later this spring or in the autumn.
“It does look as if the ground has gone again,” he said.
“I spoke to his owner yesterday and said it could be the shortest, longest campaign he’s ever had.
“If we get to the first week in May and it hoses it down with rain and there’s a novice chase to run in, he’ll run in that novice chase.”