Ben Pauling targets Carlisle return for Willoughby Court

Tue 25 Sep 2018

Ben Pauling has earmarked the Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase as the first port of call for Grade One winner Willoughby Court on his return from injury.

Plans are in place to give the 2017 Neptune winner, who is two from three over fences, an outing in the two-and-a-half-mile Listed prize on November 4, ahead of a potential outing in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury the following month.

The seven-year-old has not been sighted since losing his unbeaten record over fences in a Grade Two novice chase on New Year’s Day, after sustaining a foot abscess in February during his build-up to an outing in the JLT at the Cheltenham Festival.

Pauling said: “He didn’t do a lot wrong last year and we were very much looking forward to the JLT.

“An an abscess in the foot is such a minor injury, but it was a really nasty abscess and we were concerned it may have infected the bone. To this day nobody has found the puncture wound where it came from.

“He has come back in as good as ever. He looks a million dollars and is moving very well. We are hoping to run him in the graduation chase at Carlisle on November 4.

“There is every chance after that, if it all goes to plan, that you could see him in the Ladbrokes Trophy.”

He looks a million dollars Ben Pauling on Willoughby Court

The Bourton-on-the-Water handler is leaning towards giving Global Citizen his seasonal return in the Listed Matchbook VIP Hurdle at Kempton on October 21.

After running out an impressive winner of the Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle at the Sunbury track on his penultimate start in February, the six-year-old failed to fire when sent off favourite for a Grade One at Aintree most recent outing.

Pauling added: “There is no doubt what we think of him and he will be aimed at the Listed hurdle at Kempton on October 21.

“We only inherited him in January and he impressed me at a lot from what I saw at home.

“He went and won a novice hurdle as he liked at Southwell, so we shoved him in the Dovecote to see where we were and he demolished that field as well.

“At Aintree he pulled too hard and ran his race in the first mile and a half, he never looked like the horse that won at Kempton.”

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