Tom George is hopeful Baby Mix is returning to something like his best ahead of the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday.
The five-year-old looked destined for the top when winning at Cheltenham and in the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton last season, but he disappointed in the Triumph Hurdle and has failed to sparkle in two starts this term.
Given a break since his last run in the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton in early November, the French import has been showing his trainer far more on the gallops in recent weeks than he was earlier in the campaign.
"When he came back into work at the start of the season, we thought he'd grown up and matured as he was a lot quieter, but I think it has transpired he just wasn't right in himself for whatever reason," said George.
"Just recently his work has been much better and I think he is back to where he was this time last year when he went on to be very impressive in the Adonis.
"He seems very well at home and hopefully we get to see him on a good day rather than a bad day."
Baby Mix is a 25/1 shot with Sky Bet for Saturday's ultra-competitive handicap.