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More To Come From 2018


There won’t ever be another horse who will do as much for my career as BARTERS HILL has done. I bought him (expertly guided by my agent Tessie) at the Tattersalls Derby sale before I had even got my trainers license. He was exceptionally backward as a 3yr old and really showed very little indeed in his first season. He was bought at my first open/owners day by an amalgamation of family and close friends of them, who became the 'Circle of Friends'. They have shown huge patience with 'Lenny' or 'Bart', as he is known in the yard, right from the start. A lot of people would have outed him as slow or useless, but that is certainly not what he turned out as! It was quite amazing the transformation in him after a summers break. When we turned up for his first bumper run at Huntingdon I apologised to his owners as he looked like he was ‘’In Foal’’ in the paddock but that didn’t appear to stop him! The first of four bumper wins that season, that included the Listed bumper at Newbury and the Aintree Champion bumper. Amazing to think he beat BUVEUR D'AIR twice that season and ALTIOR once!
His Novice Hurdle campaign couldn’t have started any better with an effortless win at Huntingdon. He then went straight to Newbury for the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle. He duly won very well and showed how good he could be. It was a landmark success for the yard and his jockey David Bass as it was our first success at Grade 1 level. He then won the Grade 2 River Don at Doncaster, but had to fight hard to win. Things couldn’t have been better in the lead up to the Cheltenham Festival and he was hot favourite for the Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle. On the Wednesday (two days before the race) he was found lame in his box at home after exercise and to this day we don’t know what went wrong, but he was sore. Amazingly he was sound on the day of the race but he wasn’t himself from the back of the last but was a gallant in defeat still finishing 4th.
His chasing career was due to start in October but the ground was very quick and we missed our first three intended starting points and ended up running at Cheltenham at the November meeting. It was a strange day filled with nerves but he soon settled them by jumping brilliantly. Unfortunately, the day wasn’t to end happily with him being pulled up quickly in front of the stands. He had slipped his tendon off of his hock, an injury not alien to racing, but certainly not one of the more common injuries. The prognosis for such an injury is very uncertain, so it was just a case of trying our best to help him in any way possible. After a stretch on box rest, followed by a large amount of walker work, it was apparent the swelling wasn’t reducing enough and he was sent for a small operation to tidy up the area around where the tendon now sat. Still sore he went out to grass at Stowell Park, where he summers every year, to see if being out in the field helped at all. Amazingly it helped a huge amount and it was decided that he would go for eight weeks on the water treadmill at Jamie and Judy Magee’s in Lambourn. This again brought him forward in leaps and bounds and he returned to gentle training. Amazingly he has gone from strength to strength and although not rushed he has been improving all the time.
We are now fast approaching the next chapter of his career as we are hopefully days if not weeks away from his return to the racecourse. He has worked nicely in Lambourn twice and appears to hold plenty of his old ability. We will not know exactly what ability he retains until he runs but all we can try to do is have him as well prepared as possible and the rest will be up to him. If he doesn’t have his old enthusiasm for the game then we will not continue. He is such a kind horse and so easy in every way that there will be a lot to life once his racing days are finished with.
But then of course if he is back for more with the old fire burning in his belly………who knows what could happen…..


Gill joined us this summer as my Head Lass. She had been running her own pre-training and breaking yard on the farm here for several years with her partner Vince Slattery. They had built up a very successful and hugely well-regarded business so I can only count myself very lucky that she has joined us here at Ben Pauling Racing. Her knowledge of horses and her stable management is second to none. It is hard for us all to keep up with her work rate but I think the best thing is not to try because it is almost impossible to do! It is not only on the floor where she excels, she has a background in eventing and rides very well indeed. Both, WILLOUGHBY COURT and BARTERS HILL both reap the rewards of being ridden by Gill on a daily basis. The staff quite clearly respect her and she will always do her best for them to make their lives in the yard as smooth as possible. I am thrilled to have her here and she is a huge part of a well-oiled machine and it would already be a strange place without her.

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