BEN PAULING is eyeing some of jumps racing’s big prizes this winter.
The Cheltenham Festival winning trainer is readying his stable stars for a top-flight campaign.
Willoughby Court (right) won the Neptune at Cheltenham in 2017[/caption]
Pauling is preparing Willoughby Court, winner of the 2017 Neptune at the Festival, for a tilt at the Ladbrokes Trophy, formerly the Hennessy Gold Cup.
The gelding will return early next month in a graduation chase at Carlisle, and Pauling believes he is in peak condition after missing the spring with a foot abscess.
Pauling said: “He looks a million dollars and is moving very well.
“I’m hoping he is up to running in the Colin Parker Graduation Chase at Carlisle on November 4.
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“There is every chance if that went to plan you could see him in the Ladbrokes Trophy a month later.
“With a mark of 151, he could still be quite well handicapped.
“It is a big step up in trip, the Ladbrokes Trophy. I’ve no reason to believe he wouldn’t stay. He has had a tweak of his wind, and I hope he will reap the rewards.”
Pauling also had news of Global Citizen, who ran away with the Dovecote Hurdle in February before coming unstuck on testing ground at Aintree.
The Gloucestershire-based trainer has hopes the six-year-old will develop into a Champion Hurdle contender this term, and he could be in action at Kempton on Sunday.
Pauling said: “There is a Listed hurdle at Kempton this weekend, and he will be aimed at that.
“We will go for that – then there is the Elite at Wincanton three weeks later, so there is a possibility he could do the two of those.
“He has got a lot to do to prove he is Champion Hurdle standard, but he will be given the chance to. I’d like to think he could be a Christmas Hurdle horse.
“I’ve never had a horse with his speed and athleticism.”
Meanwhile, Grade 1 winner Barters Hill is in training and will head back over fences having only returned from serious injury in February.
Pauling continued: “He ran in a hurdle at Newbury and petered out towards the end.
“That was sad for me to see, and I thought maybe he was not quite not what he was – it wasn’t until later in the season when we ran a tracheal wash on him that he had a load of blood in his lungs.
“We are going to go back novice chasing with him, and his jumping seems fine. It will be lovely to see him back over fences, because he has only had one stab at it.
“If I could pick up a novice chase with him it would be the proudest day I’ve had with him.”