It is expected that fledging trainer Ben Pauling will be feeling the excitement when he heads to the racetrack at Cheltenham on Friday. The man is certainly no stranger to Prestbury Park; he was been at the track as many times during the past 6 years as Nicky Henderson’s assistant trainer. However, on Friday, he will be saddling Kellys Brow as his first horse running under his own name.
Pauling is now in charge of the stables in Bourton Hill Farm which Shaun Lycett used to occupy, which is just to the south of Bourton on the Water. This move is somewhat of a homecoming for Pauling, who grew up in the Cotswolds, where his father and grandfather worked as permit trainers. His sister also lives just along the road at Chipping Norton with her husband Charlie Longsdon.
Pauling’s first runners were sent out recently and he got two second place finishes from Raven’s Tower last Monday, the first for Pauling in a Plumpton hurdle race. He went into the race with a certain plan, and then David Bass carried it out perfectly.
Pauling spoke out about the races, ‘We were very close with him twice before, beaten a total of a length over two races, so for him to go and do it at Plumpton on ground that was completely unsuitable for him was great.
“I thought he had plenty of weight in hand and he did it very nicely, and he has also shown us that he might actually handle the ground, which is fantastic because he’s now run on good-to-firm to heavy.”
Pauling is now aiming even higher. After Kellys Brow wins in three hurdle races, he is setting his aims high going forward with the six-year old gelding.
In an interview with the owners of Foxtrot Racing, he said “Kellys Brow is a very exciting prospect for all of us and I’m very excited to be training a horse of his quality. He looks to have the profile of a very versatile horse and has a bright future over hurdles and fences with his novice season ahead.”
Pauling is hopeful that Henderson’s magic will have rubbed off on him a bit. In speaking to John Herbert from the Citizen of Gloucester, he said “I always knew I’d have the ambition to train one day myself.
“I wanted to be making decisions that Nicky was making. Not that I wanted to make them there, because it wasn’t my place to do so, but I was ready for the responsibility.”