Willoughby Court at Cheltenham Festival

Willoughby Court makes way

Ben Pauling has announced his delight at unleashing exciting novice hurdler Gowiththeflow at this month’s Cheltenham Festival.

The news comes as a welcome relief for Pauling who was dealt a hammer blow earlier in the week when it was discovered that his stable star and Cheltenham Festival winner, Willoughby Court, was found to have ‘poison in a foot’.

Pauling, former assistant to the esteemed Nicky Henderson, confirmed that the JLT Novices’ Chase favourite would consequently withdraw from the big meeting this March, citing that they’ve run out of time to plot a recovery, but the 34-year-old trainer now admits he has another live Cheltenham contender in the form of Gowiththeflow.

Cheltenham Festival - Willoughby Court to miss Cheltenham Meeting

Willoughby Court, who famously won the Neptune Novice’s Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in 2017, has also been a stand-out performer at Eventmasters’ Christmas Race Day at Warwick. having won in both 2015 and 2016.

The 5-year-old Gelding, a 3-mile point-to-point winner last May, has certainly been in good form of late, having cruised to victory over 2 miles, 5 furlongs at Doncaster earlier this year and Pauling feels his charge may be underestimated slightly.

The son of Westerner is currently a 25/1 shot for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and 14/1 for the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle over 3 miles.

Pauling admits that he is undecided over the Gelding’s target but suggests that he is leaning towards the longer race:

“I like him a lot. I think he’s got a great profile for either race but we’re looking more towards the Albert Bartlett, as long as the ground doesn’t go too soft.

“I think he’s going to be a very good each-way shout.”

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