Racing: Orchid on way back

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DESERT ORCHID continues to make steady progress as he recovers from the emergency surgery he underwent for a twisted gut and was turned out in a paddock for a short time yesterday.

Newmarket vet Andy Bathe said: 'He is out of intensive care and he was turned out in a paddock for the first time today. He is slowly returning to normal and is over the worst. But it is too early to say that he is completely out of danger.'

Saturday's Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown, a race which Desert Orchid won in 1988, was yesterday confirmed as the next target for Uncle Ernie. The Jimmy Fitzgerald-trained gelding was challenging Remittance Man in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon last week when falling at the last.

He takes on last year's winner Waterloo Boy with connections hoping to show that he could have beaten Remittance Man had he stood up. Mark Smyly, racing manager to owner Tony Budge, said: 'He would certainly have given Remittance Man a race. It will be argued for a long time but Mark Dwyer thinks he probably would have won.'

Today's meeting at Leicester has been abandoned due to waterlogging, as was yesterday's Worcester card. Clerk of the course Nick Lees said: 'It has been raining heavily all day and we had no option but to abandon the meeting.'