Shades Of Midnight is back in training ahead of a possible comeback in the spring (John Walton/PA)Shades Of Midnight may return in the spring if all goes well with the leg problem that has kept him off the track since he won the Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock in February.

The nine-year-old is back in training and will be reassessed in the new year, before any decision on a possible comeback is made.

As well as winning the Grade Two stayers’ prize on Merseyside, he had earlier finished second to Paisley Park there and was also successful in a novice chase at Kelso.

Trainer Sandy Thomson has been pleased with Shades Of Midnight and hopes the horse will be able to get to the racecourse again.

“He got a touch of a leg when he won the Rendlesham. We’re hopeful to get a spring campaign out of him,” said the Berwickshire handler.

“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.”

If all goes well, there could be a high-profile spring target too.

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.”