Ben Pauling Stable Tour With Architect Tips
I was grateful to have been invited to the Ben Pauling Open day, which took place on Saturday 9th September 2017. I travelled over for the long journey and I must say it was worth every second, meeting the stars such as Willoughby Court, Barters Hill and many more. The whole team made me feel very welcome and I was lucky to have had around 30 minute conversation with Grand National/ multiple Grade one winning jockey Daryl Jacob, who starts out a new chapter of his career with the Ben Pauling racing team. He was very down to earth and he also provided with me a couple of nice prospects for the jumps season ahead, which of course will be added to the notebooks and I will give out a more detailed description on these two horses further into this stable tour blog. I also spoke with Ben Pauling himself, who is a great trainer and provided me with some nice information on how the stable star Willoughby Court has been working along with a few of the stable staff, who also provided me with some interesting things I didn’t know about within the stable. In this blog you will find plenty of photos of the stable horses along with a parade of the four main players Willoughby Court, Barters Hill, Le Breuil and High Bridge.
THE FOUR MAIN CONTENDERS
Since the first day I witnessed Willoughby on a racecourse I just loved him and many will know he is my favourite horse in training. It was one of the greatest performances I have seen when he made all in the Neptune at the Cheltenham Festival. He showed pure heart under a great ride from David Bass to get the win for connections, myself and members at 14/1. He is of course the star at Ben Paulings stable and I was so glad to have met him on the Open Day. I had a solid discussion with Ben Pauling and he quoted in his own words describing Willoughby Court to be in “ridiculous form” and that he’s a much more stronger horse since Cheltenham. He’s a solid, staying chaser in the making and Ben Pauling always thought that he would be at his best over fences. That’s the plan for the season ahead and even though he’s yet to school over fences the whole camp are bullish he will be “very good”. He’s effective over various trips ranging from 2-1/2 miles to 2m5f on ground from good to heavy and that’s the distance he will run for the time being, but Ben Pauling is confident he will get 3 miles when they decide to up him in trip. Anything he did over hurdles was a bonus and I was told he will start off in a mid-week novice chase and they will then take it step by step. Willoughby Court paraded very well at the yard and I have recently seen his first peice of work on the gallops, which left me impressed. There is only one way this horse can be ridden and that is from the front. He’s proven himself to be a tough, genuine classy horse who stays well, jumps beautifully and has the heart of a lion. Ben Pauling and the team are very hopeful he will take high ranking amongst the novice chase division this coming jumps season.
Another star of the Ben Paulings stable, who was unbeaten in his first seven starts and Ben Pauling admitted that the 11th November 2016 was the worst day of his racing career. Seeing this wonderful horse pull up having gone badly wrong in his very first novice chase when sent off 11/8fav. At the time everyone feared the worse but this tough horse managed to pull through thankfully and I am happy he is still with the team and looking very well at the stable. Connections had high hopes in the future with him but the injury was that severe that it looked likely we wouldn’t see him on a racecourse again. But at the time of writing, things are looking good and his hock is healing really well. I was told Barters spent his summer at Stowell Park and since returned from a month on the treadmill. He’s still in steady progress and will continue training in his own time and when he’s ready to run. Fingers crossed if he makes it back to full fitness then Ben Pauling is very keen to put him back over hurdles for the season, which seems the perfect decision instead of taking the hard route. I loved how he jumped hurdles and Ben said, if he retains the ability he had, he could go near the top level again one-day. It’s obviously such a shame that happened at Cheltenham but luckily he is alive and looking well. Barters Hill paraded beautifully and he had a little relax in his box enjoying the company of the viewers. I would love to see him back to his best because look what Altior and Buveuir Dair did last season, Champion Hurdle winner and Arkle Chase winner. Barters Hill beat both of them easily in his bumper year (the latter twice). The welfare of the horse will obviously always come first but it will be a privilege to see him on a racecourse again, fingers crossed.
A gorgeous chestnut gelding, who Ben Pauling holds in the highest regard. He mentioned that Le Breuil is the most enjoyable to watch out of every horse in the yard and that he has a very big engine. He bolted up on his bumper debut before connections were mortified he got beaten when running him too soon. He made a perfect start to his hurdling career when a commanding winner over 2-1/2 miles at Sedgefield before doubling his tally under a penalty in good style. He was sent for a Grade one at the Aintree Festival but was pulled up and returned home snotty. Easily you can put a line through that run and the option from the yard is that he will remain over hurdles for another season. There plan is that he will be running in graded company again and one of the jockeys reported that he seems the type that can run over 2 miles or 3 miles. He’s an electric jumper, who’s going to be some horse over fences next year and Ben Pauling absolutely adores him. Le Breuil is very laid back and clearly knows how good he is. Fingers crossed he can show us all his class this season. I am really excited to see him on a racecourse again.
High Bridge was a great part of Ben Paulings success last season and run well in some very good bumpers. He built up a solid partnership with Alex Ferguson and won three novice hurdles in great style, twice at Newbury and once at Catterick. Ben Pauling said he felt he had a very good each-way chance in the Supreme Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and he ran well to finish ninth although Ben thinks he’s better than the result suggested. He’s a beautiful, relaxed horse and his future targets for the season ahead are either the Greatwood or the Jerry Fieldon as he looks a very well handicapped horse quoted by Ben Pauling off a mark 141. He hopes that this smart horse will be very competitive in decent handicaps and that he could progress into Graded company later in the season. High Bridge is a little speed ball so will most likely stick at 2 miles and could go over a little further at some point. Ben mentioned he has the size and scope to go over fences down the line. I am personally excited to see him go down the handicap route this season, because he’s a very useful horse and should continue to progress.
As I mentioned earlier in this blog, I managed to have a nice long chat to Grade one and Grand National winning jockey Daryl Jacob, who starts out a new chapter with the Ben Pauling racing team. I asked him if there are any horses to look out for this season and mentioned two horses that could be “very good”.
He’s out of Dubai Destination and even Ben Pauling really liked him when riding him out. Kildisart is described as a “brilliant worker” and ran a good race to finish second on his only start in a bumper although Ben was slightly disappointed. He came back from the race not right and he was found to have picked up an injury that ruled him out for the remainder of the season. However, he’s now back “better than ever” and Ben Pauling/Daryl Jacob think he will go a very long way to being a very smart hurdler. He’s definitely got the looks to being a good horse and Ben hopes he will fulfill his potential.
This four-year-old is by the high-class Youmzain (twice Arc runner-up) out of a lovely French pedigree. He came over from France back in April where he was placed in two out of three starts and the latest of those came when a fast finishing second in a Juvenile chase around Auteuil. Ben and Daryl thinks he’s a horse with plenty of ability and despite him not being the biggest, he’s described as having plenty of strength. The plan for him this season is to go down the novice hurdling route over 2-1/2 miles and make plans the more experience he gathers.
WAY BACK THEN
Ben Pauling has always thought a lot of this horse. He would have run earlier than expected back in the Autumn but the ground was too quick so connections took their time with him. The wait paid off as he won his only bumper last season by a comfortable two lengths from a decent horse who won next time out by 15 lengths. He picked up a minor setback then but is back in training now. Interestingly, he was sent to Henrietta Knight (Triple gold Cup winner with Best Mate) who had him for a while to try and get him back to full fitness and she did a grand job. Ben Pauling says this horse has “serious talent” and is apparently a brilliant jumper. As long as he doesn’t have any problems this season, he could go a very long way in novice hurdles this year. He’s a gorgeous horse and absolutely love a good fuss too in his box. Fingers crossed he has a smooth season and can show us his talent.
Well, something I didnt know until one of Ben Paulings experienced staff member directed me to this horse in his box, was that this beauty Cavernous, is Willoughby Court’s full brother, so he has a lot to live up to but many from the yard and Ben himself have given really good words on him. He didn’t run because of the ground being too quick towards the end of the season, but has benefitted massively from having the summer to strengthen. Cavernous will fill out his frame in the future and is very much like his brother in “every way” according to Ben. I couldn’t disagree because they both look identical! He’s a horse the whole yard love and hopefully will be similar ability of his brother Willoughby and be top-class. He was very boisterous in his box and looked a million dollars.
A HARE BREATH
I loved meeting this star, the photo says it all. He looked better than ever and had a good season last year, showing his talent on a few occasions. He ran a cracker first time out in the Greatwood finishing fourth beaten only a couple of lengths. He was carried badly left after the last and Ben Pauling said he thought he would have gone extremely close otherwise. A Hare Breath went novice chasing and won on his chase debut beating a fairly decent field. He was highly tried in the Arkle Chase but was clearly out of his depth. It was found out that he had “kissing spines” but that has been operated on and he’s back ready to go. The owners and Ben are very keen on sending him back over hurdles and his main target is having another crack at the Greatwood again. He’s very well handicapped off a mark 139 and Ben has said there is definitely a big prize in him. He’s described as one of the best workers you could wish for to watch and when everything falls into place he will have his day, showing everyone what he is capable of. A Hare Breath is definitely one to keep an eye on this season going back over the smaller obstacles.
I hope you enjoyed this read as much I did writing it. It was a privilege to meet the four main contenders along with finding out some dark horses for the season ahead.
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