Gloucestershire trainer Ben Pauling has a small but select team bound for Cheltenham. On the first day, Global Citizen is his first runner in the Champion Hurdle. He won the Grade 2 The New One Hurdle at Haydock in January. Pauling reckons he has “a lively each-way chance.” He’s a free-going type so a fast pace will suit him.
Also on the first day, Pauling runs Le Breuil in the Ultima Handicap Chase. He admitted that it looks a tough race. However, he thinks three miles will suit him and Daryl Jacob is keen to ride him. It’s a big ask for a novice but the trainer believes his horse is man enough for the task.
Bright Forecast, who carries the colours made famous by 1981 Grand National winner Aldaniti, runs in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle on Wednesday. Pauling rates him “probably the nicest novice we have this year.” He won at Newbury, should have won at Leicester, then hung badly towards the stables at Haydock, giving away at least eight lengths. Even so, he finished just two and a half lengths behind Supreme Novices’ Hurdle hope Mister Fisher in that race.
Pauling runners on Thursday and Friday
Pauling is keen on the chances of his novice chaser Kildisart in the JLT on Thursday. He scored a smooth success in the Timeform Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham on Festival Trials Day. However, the handicapper put him up to a mark of 147 for that win, thus ruling him out of the Close Brothers Novices’ Chase, a 0-145 handicap, which had been the original aim. Said Pauling: “If I have one horse at the moment who is thrilling me, then it would be him … Kildisart will need to improve to win the JLT, but if he keeps on improving then he would have a squeak.”
On Friday he has Nadaitak entered in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. He won well at Doncaster last time out. However, Pauling warned he’d be “very concerned that a track like Cheltenham might find him out.” He added: “It’s a speculative entry, but if it was good ground I might be tempted to run here instead of Aintree.”
Of all the Pauling runners, Kildisart looks the one with the best chance.