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Ben Pauling retains faith in Barters Hill despite comeback defeat

Sun 11 Feb 2018

Ben Pauling is to lower Barters Hill's sights after the Grade One-winning hurdler was well beaten on his first start for 15 months at Newbury on Saturday.

Pauling has all but ruled out taking Barters Hill to next month's Cheltenham Festival, where he holds an entry in the Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle, and is looking to run him over a shorter distance next time.

However, the Gloucestershire-based trainer reported his stable star to be none the worse for his comeback run behind Talkischeap in a three-mile handicap hurdle.

"He's absolutely fine. I'm really pleased with the way he is this morning. He's a bit tired. It looks like he's had a race but he's safe and sound. That was our main concern," said Pauling.

"We will give him an easy week to see where we are and possibly look at maybe something over a slightly shorter trip, but probably nothing as grand as Cheltenham, I wouldn't think. I don't think he needs to be going there, personally.

"All being well, we'll give him another run and see where we are with him.

"If fully fit he doesn't show what he used to, we'll look after him but at the same time he seems to have taken it quite well and has just got a bit tired."

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