It is hard to believe that Ben Pauling has held a trainer’s licence since 2013. He has certainly not stood still since ending those six years as assistant trainer to Nicky Henderson, one of many to learn at the feet of the UK’s greatest-ever Cheltenham-winning handler. Pauling made an impressive start, guiding the highly-talented Barters Hill to seven successive wins culminating in the Challow Hurdle before a creditable fourth place at the Cheltenham Festival. Willoughby Court followed, winning the Neptune Novice Hurdle at Cheltenham to give Ben that elusive first Festival winner.
He capped that achievement when Le Breuil impressively won the National Hunt Chase at the 2019 Festival. His latest season was rather stop-and-go, with much of the autumn and early winter hampered by a viral issue, but he was back in form by March and was highly frustrated when the promised flow of spring winners was halted by events beyond his or anyone else’s control. There is plenty of equine talent for this highly-capable trainer to exploit and he’ll be ready to kick on when racing returns.
Such as Delire D’Estruval, Global Citizen, Kildisart and Legal Eyes were all on the cusp of progressing dramatically over fences while the lightly-raced The Macon Lugnatic showed all the signs of becoming a future star chaser when winning successive hurdle races at Doncaster gamely in all-the-way fashion.