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Ben Pauling decides to hang fire on Barters Hill return

Fri 19 Jan 2018
2016 Cheltenham Festival - Gold Cup Day - Cheltenham Racecourse Barters Hill will not be running this weekend (PA)

Ben Pauling has put the comeback run of Barters Hill on hold until his stable is in form again and ground conditions improve.

Barters Hill held entries over hurdles at Ascot and Haydock on Saturday, but the Gloucestershire trainer decided to pull the plug on his talented performer due to a combination of extreme going and some of his string being below par.

"I just thought that with a few in the yard having got a bit of a head cold and the ground having gone very, very soft up at Haydock, that the two didn't match together," said Pauling.

"I definitely wanted to see what he is capable of and I didn't want to be in two minds what we saw.

"I thought to be fair to the horse I'd wait until the ground dried out and the yard was 100 per cent healthy, so I knew he would run his race."

The eight-year-old was a leading staying novice hurdler in the 2015-16 campaign but has been sidelined since being pulled up on his debut over fences at Cheltenham in November 2016.

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