IT was a frustrating week for Ryedale's Flat trainers with several meetings, including Doncaster's big fixture on Saturday, being called off on account of waterlogging.

However, it was a notable few days for Norton-based Brian Ellison who, having sent out four consecutive winners the previous weekend, landed jump racing's biggest prize of the week on Sunday with Forest Bihan.

While many Flat courses which had been watered during the summer were unable to take the rain, jump tracks in general seemed to have little problem, though the ground for Sunday's Aintree meeting, which featured the Virgin Bet Monet's Garden Old Roan Limited Handicap Chase was soft.

In the past such conditions haven't played to the strengths of Forest Bihan, whom his trainer considered more of a good-ground horse, but it didn't seem to bother him on this occasion, for though stepping up to two and a half miles, he landed the £45,000 first prize in good style from the favourite Kalashnikov.

It was rather a controversial race because low sun meant that it was considered dangerous to jump the three fences in the straight, so not only did they jump six fewer obstacles than normal it also meant that there was a run of half a mile between the final fence and the winning line.

Whether it made any difference to the result is impossible to say, but in the main Forest Bihan is a fine jumper as indeed are Kalashnikov and Frodon who looked to be his two main rivals in Sunday's feature.

Scooting through the soft ground with no problem at all, Forest Bihan was always travelling strongly for jockey Brian Hughes and though he always seemed to have the measure of his rivals he delayed his challenge until the final furlong when he kicked clear to score by nearly three lengths to give owners Phil and Julie Martin and trainer Ellison one of the biggest prizes of the jump season so far.

Now an eight-year-old, Forest Bihan hadn't won over jumps since scoring at Kelso in October two years ago and his previous success had come in a 'jumpers' bumper staged on the all-weather at Newcastle in March the following year when the 'Beast From The East' meant that jump meetings were unable to take place on account of frozen ground.

Although the form on Sunday's race might perhaps be treated with a little caution as few fences were jumped, the win opens up a few options for Forest Bihan as it showed that not only is he fully effective on soft ground he also stays two and a half miles.

However, though given a quote as short as 20-1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March it would be a surprise if he were to prove good enough to play a major part in that grade of race.

At his best, though, he is a useful performer and after Sunday's win Ellison said: "I think his fitness was the key. Unlike his main rivals he had already had a run.

"Mind you when they decided to take out the fences I thought he was something of a certainty as he is a horse who has plenty of speed. He would have been a highly-rated Flat horse if we had gone down that route."

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls, who is responsible for Frodon, and Amy Murphy, the trainer of the favourite Kaashnikov, were inclined to blame the lack of fences for their defeats, but timer may tell that both horses were facing stiff tasks trying to give weight to the winner.

Winning rider Brian Hughes defended the riders' actions in asking for the fences to be taken out on account of the low sun, saying: "It's a safety thing.

"I rode in the race last year when we jumped everything but the sun was in their eyes at one point and the horse I rode made a mistake, injured himself and hasn't run since."

Forest Bihan was maintaining the fine run of form by Ellison, who the previous weekend had sent out four winners on the bounce at Market Rasen and Sedgefield, and also sent out Duke Debarry to win the Barry Murtagh Racing Handicap Chase at Carlisle on Thursday.

It was the the eight-year's first outing for Ellison and he returned to form in no uncertain style as he fairly trotted up, scoring by 10 lengths with Brian Hughes being able to ease him down before he reached the finishing line.

Having been pulled up on his two previous starts when with leading trainer Nicky Henderson, this was a marked improvement in form by Duke Debarry who runs in the colours of the successful syndicate Middleham Park Racing.

These wins all point to the excellent form of Ellison's horses and the Norton-based handler is hoping his good run can continue this week as his stable star Definitly Red bids for a second successive win in the bet 365 Charlie Hall Chase on Saturday.

The heavy rain last Friday and Saturday left the course with water standing in places and the drains have been struggling to take the water away as the nearby river Wharfe has been so high. But the forecast is favourable and course officials are confident that it will dry out in time for this weekend's two-day fixture.

Although Definitly Red has won on soft ground Ellison is adamant that he is a better horse on good going so the more it dries the better his chance.

Another Ryedale horse expected to go well at Wetherby is Half Bolly from Mark Walford's Sheriff Hutton yard.

He was just an ordinary horse on the Flat but he shaped as though he is going to make a much better jumper for he fairly flew up the run-in to make a winning debut over hurdles in what looked a decent race at Market Rasen last month.

He will face sterner opposition in the Wensleydale Hurdle on Friday but is sure to improve markedly on that debut effort so even though he has a small penalty to carry, he should go well again.

One horse chasing an even bigger pot this weekend will be Lord Glitters from David O'Meara's Upper Helmsley yard.

The globe-trotting six-year-old didn't run up to his best in the testing ground in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Champions Day on his latest start but he has already had a fine season with an excellent third in Meydan in March before going on to win the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.

He has already won £1.4 million and bids to add a further £866,000 to that remarkable total.

Followers of the Flat might be wondering what happened to local apprentice Oakley Brown, who rode three winners in 2018 when apprenticed to Richard Fahey.

He had only one ride on the Flat in Britain this year but increasing weight has meant that he has turned his attention to the jumping game and is based with young Irish trainer Joseph O'Brien, son of champion trainer Aidan.

It is working out well for him as he is getting some rides and has been successful on his last two mounts, partnering Linger to win a handicap hurdle at Cork for his boss earlier in the month, and then on Sunday he scored another notable success when winning a National Hunt Flat race for O'Brien on the well-regarded Global Equity.