CHEPSTOW's October meeting, long regarded as the gateway to a new National Hunt season, will witness the re-emergence of the useful Doitforthevillage.

Paul Henderson's standard bearer has been out of action for almost a year after contracting lymphangitis which has made it susceptible to infections and caused a swelling leg.

The 11-year-old, which is set to re-appear in a two mile, three furlong handicap chase on Saturday, will relish the softened ground. In his favour, the handicapper has dropped his mark from 140 to 133 in consideration of his absence but the Whitsbury trainer believes he will come on for the race.

"He will go on good ground but he really likes it soft" he explained, warning: "I think he will need the run."

Provided the veteran comes out of the race well, he will be aimed at the appropriately named October Chase at Cheltenham this month before returning to Prestbury Park for the major Paddy Power sponsored meeting.

The quaintly named Doitforthevillage has been a real money spinner for his connections. Purchased for just £14,000, he has won more than £140,000 and his recovery will provide a great fillip for the yard which last year did not enjoy the best of times which Henderson chiefly attributes to unsuitable ground, injuries and the coronavirus which led to the racing shutdown coming at a period when he expected his string to flourish.

Doitforthevillage will not travel across the Severn Bridge alone. He will be accompanied by the six-year-old Entre Deux, another Irish import, who will be making his debut for the stable.

Of the horse, which has won and been placed in point to points, Henderson said: "I think he's really nice and I am looking forward to running him."

Henderson currently has 21 horses at his disposal which will be augmented if his Irish agent Aiden Kennedy can find suitable material. He has already provided the five-year-old Starling Script but how good he is, Henderson is not sure.

"He has only just arrived and we have yet to assess him so I don't know how good he is going to be."

The return of the eight-year-old Hatchet Jack and Big Man Clarence gives added strength. The former has been sidelined since finishing second in a Fakenham chase in May, 2018, but is ready to run at the end of the month. The latter, now nine, has been off the track since finishing second in a three mile chase at Lingfield in January of last year when he reached a rating of 100. He will have a couple of hurdle races and then go chasing.

"I'm so glad to have them back," he remarked. "I was absolutely gutted when they were injured, such a disappointment."

Certainly one horse that Henderson is relishing to run is Megalodon. Though the seven-year-old has won over hurdles, Henderson has always believed his future lay in the other sphere.

"He has skipped over fences," he remarked of his schooling under Nick Schofield. "He is the most natural of jumpers."

A novice handicap chase at Wincanton next Thursday has been pencilled in.