CONEYGREE will remain at home at Letcombe Bassett, near Wantage, over Christmas after being ruled out of the 32Red King George VI Chase on Boxing Day.

The 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero, trained by Mark Bradstock, returned from a year off the track with a hock injury last month when second to Cue Card in the Betfair Chase at Haydock.

A rematch between the duo in the Kempton showpiece had been greatly anticipated, but now Coneygree will stay in his box after failing to shine on the gallops.

Bradstock’s wife and assistant, Sara, who rides out the nine-year-old every day, said: “He didn’t work well on Saturday and he’s just not right.

“He is fragile and we want him to be completely on-song when he runs.

“We’re still hopefully on for the Gold Cup, and maybe something before that.”

Coneygree could now have a warm-up for the Festival in either the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham on January 28 or the Denman Chase at Newbury on February 11.

Meanwhile, Charlie Longsdon has described training his first winner for the Queen as a privilege after Forth Bridge’s battling victory at Musselburgh.

Aptly-named after the Scottish track’s nearby historic river crossing, the three-year-old made the 700-mile round trip from Longsdon’s Chipping Norton stables for a juvenile hurdle over an extended mile and seven furlongs.

And the 30-100 favourite’s long trek paid off with a neck verdict over Warp Factor under Brian Hughes.

Longsdon said: “He has taken to hurdles exceptionally well and is an exciting prospect. He is our first winner for The Queen and it is a privilege to train a winner in the royal colours.”

Shimba Hills, an unlucky third at Plumpton last month, went two places better for Aston Rowant trainer Lawney Hill on his return to the Sussex venue with a game success in a two-mile handicap hurdle under Nick Scholfield.

On the Flat, New Agenda got off the mark for Paul Webber’s Mollington stables, near Banbury, when piloted to a clear-cut victory in an amateur riders’ handicap at Wolverhampton by Max Kendrick.

Hook Norton owner-trainer Peter Hiatt also struck at Dunstall Park when Raashdy claimed a head success in an extended mile maiden stakes.