Pauling feeling pressure of Barters chasing debut

Ben Pauling on Barters Hill: “He is best in at the weights on hurdle ratings”

PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos) Pauling feeling pressure of Barters chasing debut By Jon Lees 7:46PM 10 NOV 2016

BATRTERS HILL, beaten only once in eight starts, makes his chasing debut in a race with an outstanding pedigree for producing future champions of the sphere.

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In the last ten years this race has been won by Denman and Imperial Commander, both winners of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Dynaste, who won the Ryanair Chase, and Taquin De Seuil, who went on to land the JLT Novices’ Chase. Last year it went to More Of That.

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Barters Hill suffered his only defeat in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at last season’s festival in which his attempt to repeat his customary front-running role was foiled only after he stumbled after the last flight.

“He is best in at the weights on hurdle ratings,” said his trainer Ben Pauling. “Some of his opponents have had a run under their belts but Barters Hill is a very nice horse who is in sparkling form.

“I hope he runs a race that we can proud of. He is a horse we all need in the yard. It’s a big day and deciding to release him at Cheltenham puts a bit more pressure on. He will do his damnedest as he always does.”

As a debutant over fences Barters Hill receives 5lb from winning chasers Flying Angel, Its’afreebee and Theinval and 8lb from Rock The Kasbah, whose victory came in a higher class contest.

Philip Hobbs, trainer of Rock The Kasbah, said: “He’s been in very good form since his Chepstow win and two and a half miles on ground on the easy side will suit him well.”

Cheltenham’s three-day Open meeting will start on Friday on ground described as good, good to soft in places after another dry 24 hours at the track.

The rain that was forecast to arrive on Friday evening will now come later. Simon Claisse, clerk of the course, said: “The forecast is now dry until Saturday morning when we could get between six and eight millimetres, which is less than was forecast before. It is likely to be dry for the rest of weekend after that.”

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