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Paul Nicholls expects Dodging Bullets to improve for his run at Newbury regardless of how he fares in Saturday's Betfair Exchange Chase.
The eight-year-old has not run since landing the two-mile championship at last year's Cheltenham Festival after missing several targets due to an early-season injury.
He will make his long-awaited reappearance in Saturday's Grade Two and his trainer is confident he can give a good account of himself even though it is his first start in almost 12 months.
"It's not been plain-sailing, we were going to go to Cheltenham (in November), then the Tingle Creek, then the Clarence House, but we schooled him one morning and two days later he was lame," said Nicholls.
"For a week afterwards, we could not work out what was wrong with him. Then he threw an enormous splint so we had to give him a month stood in his box and treat it. He had lots of walking and bits and pieces as we waited for him to come sound again, which he did.
"The last eight weeks we have not had any problems with him. We have done loads of work and schooling and he's had a racecourse gallop as well.
"He looks in great shape and good in his skin, and he is fit enough to run well on Saturday.
"Whatever he does, his race at the weekend will make a big difference. Of course, he will come on for the run - he has to - but I am happy he is in good enough shape to run tidy."
Dodging Bullets is one of five horses declared for the Newbury feature with Top Gamble set to take his chance for Kerry Lee.
Nicky Henderson has declared Captain Conan and L'Ami Serge, although the latter is expected to head to Warwick for the Kingmaker Chase. Paul Henderson's Un Beau Roman completes the line-up.