Trainer Ben Pauling confirms Barters Hill plans


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Trainer Ben Pauling has confirmed he is fine tuning Barters Hill’s preparations ahead of the Cheltenham Festival in March.

The eight-year-old has not raced since the end of 2016, when he was pulled up during a run at Cheltenham.

Barters Hill is now set to return over hurdles after being named in a handicap hurdle race at Newbury on Saturday.

He will go over the extended three miles a year after getting injured on his chasing debut but Pauling’s stable are confident he will deliver the goods.

Barters Hill won seven races in a row at the start of his career but the jury is still out on whether he will be able to return to his best form.

Pauling’s team had three winners on Monday at Southwell and they are happy to ignore other entries in favour of a run at Newbury.

The bay gelding was entered in two races at Huntingdon on Thursday but Pauling has now revealed their preferred option.

He told reporters: “It’s very much the plan to go on Saturday at Newbury. He’s in good order and it will be great to have him back out.”

Barters Hill finished fourth in the Albert Bartlett at the Festival but plans are still being finalised for this year with a different race a possibility.

Cracking Smart is the current favourite for the Albert Bartlett at odds of 7.00, while Next Destination is also available at the same odds.

Chef Des Obeaux is priced at 15.00 with Dafabet, alongside Dortmund Park, Mr Whipped and Red River at the same odds.

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