There was a touch of the inevitable about Sue Smith’s near 41/1 double at Uttoxeter last Sunday.

Not just because Sue and her husband Harvey are too sharp a duo to be left in the wilderness for an eternity, but more immediately their horses had been hinting that their long barren spell was about to end, with four seconds from their last six runners.

That included another sterling effort from their Scottish Champion Hurdle winner Midnight Shadow at Haydock the previous afternoon had signalled the recovery. Now that the breakthrough has been made, their horses are sure to continue on the upgrade and bookmakers at Newcastle and Carlisle this weekend will be watching their steps.

Until Sunday, Sue and Harvey had saddled 81 runners and gone 215 days without notching a winner, and experts were falling over themselves to pass on the message that punters should ignore the stable’s horses.

Shrewd observers at Carlisle earlier in the month will, however, have noted that Midnight Shadow had attracted significant support in the market for the £50,000 Graduation Chase and that he would clearly have justified his backers’ confidence had he not come down at the final fence.

Once again, there was money for the Sue Smith star as he lined up for Saturday’s valuable Graduation Chase at Haydock, where he travelled well throughout the race and again looked the assured winner until denied in the final 50 yards by the unexpected rally of Keepers Hill.

Losses on Midnight Shadow are surely only lent and it wasn’t long before the broad smiles returned to the Smiths’ faces. Informateur hosed up under the admirable Danny Cook in the opener at Uttoxeter. The gelding had won at Sedgefield around the same time last year and later finished a respectable fourth at Carlisle in February. The Smith double was completed by Silva Eclipse in the handicap hurdle.

Nor a surprise success either as the grey had won well at Hexham last season and had only been narrowly beaten in better company at Haydock.

Sue and Harvey have been regular supporters of jump racing at Carlisle for many seasons and, with the team restored to form, their entries at tomorrow’s meeting will need careful monitoring.

More immediately, Sue saddles two likely contenders at Newcastle tomorrow in Hill Sixteen and I Just Know. The latter reappears in the Rehearsal Chase.

Last season, this bold front runner put in a spectacular round of jumping to land the Northern National at Catterick. He goes well fresh and will be an interesting runner in this competitive race.

Hill Sixteen is doubly entered at Newcastle and he should be supported wherever he starts. He is on a winnable mark in the handicap and should be race-fit after a couple of warm-up runs.

At the Colin Parker Memorial Chase, Lostintranslation enhanced his Gold Cup claims with a splendid display to take the Betfair Chase from the 2016 runner-up Bristol de Mai.

Down at Ascot, last season’s Carlisle favourite and eventual third Cyrname, produced in sparkling condition by Paul Nicholls, out-galloped a gallant but very tired Altior to settle the ‘Clash of the Titans’ for the time being, if not for the long term.

A number of Nicky Henderson’s stars have tended to need their reappearance runs and Altior may be no exception. He was far from disgraced on the testing going and it would be no great surprise if the placings were reversed later in the season.

Picking up on Lostintranslation’s big Haydock win, his jumping may have been a shade less extravagant than it had been at Carlisle but he only made one small error, brushing the birch over the second last and it was a most commendable effort to outstay Bristol de Mai.

With one leg of the £1m bonus under his belt, Lostintranslation now heads to Kempton on Boxing Day for the King George, followed by the Gold Cup in March for which he is a worthy favourite.

Lostintranslation’s trainer Colin Tizzard is likely to be four-handed in tomorrow’s renewal. His best chance of success could lie with Elegant Escape.

Last season’s Welsh National winner made a promising return to action in Wetherby’s Charlie Hall Chase staying on strongly from well off the pace. Elegant Escape’s jumping improved as the race developed and he will be better suited by Newbury’s stiffer galloping track.