Raven’s swoops for Pauling
Friday 21 February 2014
Raven's Tower has made a priceless contribution to the career of Ben Pauling already and his victory at Warwick could even take the young trainer as far as the Cheltenham Festival.
A former assistant to Nicky Henderson, Pauling set up himself at Bourton-on-the-Water in the heart of the Cotswolds and this gelding was his first ever winner at Plumpton in November.
Sent off the 5-2 favourite, Raven's Tower and David Bass just got the better of Haatefina in the Whitson Bloodstock Juvenile Hurdle to also become Pauling's second winner.
The trainer said: "He's a pretty special one. He has been a model of consistency with three seconds and a third and would've gone very close but for falling another time. When they try for you like that, they're a joy to train. He's got plenty of speed so I'd have thought the better the ground, the better he'll go."
Pauling has entered Raven's Tower in the Fred Winter and said: "Today was do or die. He had to win today to get a run. If he's left on 124, he still might just get in. Fingers crossed he does."
Cogry should be allowed to take up one of his Festival entries after his ready success in the EBF Stallions 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle. Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies and ridden by his son Sam, the ex-Irish pointer had a Southwell bumper and a Leicester hurdle win to his name from five British starts and came six lengths clear as 4-6 favourite.
"He put that to bed, so we'll see," said Twiston-Davies snr. "I'm fairly hopeful we will go (to Cheltenham)." The trainer suggested the Neptune would be more likely than the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle, but he can still consider the Coral Cup and Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle.
David Pipe's Ballynagour had failed to deliver as a Cheltenham banker after cruising clear in last year's Star Sports Budbrooke Chase. This time the feature went to Philip Hobbs' course regular Persian Snow (7-2), who pulled eight lengths clear in the home straight.
Jockey Richard Johnson told Racing UK: "He has progressed all season. He had some nice bumper form but has only recently begun to find his feet and like all of Philip's, he looks in good health. In a way, the races have been here for him. There were only six runners but every one was a decent horse. It was a good solid run."
The Johnson and Hobbs runner Mighty Mob was narrowly thwarted by Henry Daly's No Duffer (11-2) in the Gamble Family Day At Warwick Races Novices' Handicap Chase, while Dorry K (16-1) stayed well for Jack Sherwood in the Warwick 'Hands And Heels' Handicap Hurdle.
Loughalder (13-2) let Bally Sands do the donkey work in the Irish Raceday Here On 9th March Handicap Chase before leaving him standing on the run-in.