Barters Hill set for sidelines after suffering injury at Cheltenham

Trainer Ben Pauling says leg injury not career threatening but horse will need time off

0 0 Seven (right) ridden by Nico de Boinville on their way to victory in the Steel Plate And Sections Novice’ Chase during Countryside Day of The Open Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire

0 0 Seven (right) ridden by Nico de Boinville on their way to victory in the Steel Plate And Sections Novice’ Chase during Countryside Day of The Open Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire

 

Barters Hill is set for a spell on the sidelines after suffering a leg injury on his chasing debut at Cheltenham.

Ben Pauling’s classy staying hurdler was pulled up by David Bass after seven fences of the Steel Plate And Sections Novices’ Chase, in which he was sent off the 11-8 favourite.

Barters Hill, whose only previous defeat came in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at last season’s Cheltenham Festival, was found to have been lame behind and was taken away for further assessment.

Pauling revealed the horse’s injury is not career threatening, but exactly how long he will be off the track has yet to be determined.

“I’ve had a phone call from the lad that looks after him,” said the Gloucestershire trainer. He said the horse has slipped a tendon off his hock. It’s not career ending, but he will need a certain amount of time off.

“Whether he’s back this season depends on how severe it is. A horse like that needs plenty of patience. It’s a terribly sad day, but we’ve still got him. It’s a real shame, but hopefully it’s only a stumbling block.

O O Seven took full advantage

“He will return racing but he definitely wants three miles not two and a half.”

O O Seven (9-2) took full advantage of Barters Hill’s dramatic exit as he ran out a convincing winner, despite drifting badly towards the stands rail on the run-in.

Jockey Nico de Boinville soon had the Nicky Henderson-trained six-year-old back on an even keel and O O Seven galloped past the post 10 lengths to the good over Sizing Tennessee. Rock The Kasbah ran on strongly to claim third place.

Pauling is a former assistant of Henderson, who said of the winner: “He’s a gorgeous-looking horse and this is what we’ve been waiting for. This is where his life really begins. It’s a long wait but you have to be patient.

“He’s always been very good since we started schooling him over fences earlier in the year. His technique was always very special and he had to be good to come here first time.

“Hopefully, Barters Hill will be all right. It take a lot of gloss off the race as he was the horse we had to beat and it would be sad if they can’t race him for a while. It left the race wide open and our fellow was there to grab his opportunity.

“They went a good gallop and the pace was good. And when Barters Hill wasn’t there, they kept it (the gallop) up. I think they all got a bit tired. It was his first run and he just got a bit lonely. I’m not worried about that.

“He got three miles when he won at Musselburgh and we brought him back to two and a half for the Neptune. I imagine we’ll stay at that trip for the time being. He will get three miles at some stage.”

De Boinville said: “It was a smashing performance from a remarkable horse. It was a big ask but he’s shown us a lot at home with his schooling.”

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