English trainer Ben Pauling looks to have readied a decent team for Cheltenham 2019.
Successful with the recently retired Willoughby Court in the 2017 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, Pauling is set to have his first runner in one of the championship races at The Festival courtesy of Global Citizen in the £350,000 Grade 1 Unibet Champion Hurdle on Tuesday.
The seven-year-old son of Alkaadhem was a three-length winner of the Grade 2 The New One Unibet Hurdle at Haydock Park in January and Pauling believes he is a lively each-way player for the two-mile hurdling championship:
“I hoped last year when speaking to the owners that he would be a horse we should leave over hurdles this season and target the Champion Hurdle with and it has turned out that way. I am glad I’ve kept him over hurdles this term and he is a lively each-way chance for the race.
“He is in fabulous form, his jumping is electric and, the quicker they go, the better he will be. We restrained him early at Haydock last time because they were going quick enough and he is a very free-going type. However, when he got to the front after being restrained, he was much more relaxed. Look, he has an each-way chance and it would be great to have our first runner in one of the big championship events and it is going to be an exciting day for us all.”
The Grade 1 Unibet Champion Hurdle, the feature race of the opening day, goes to post at 3.30pm.