Pauling may supplement The Cob in Albert Bartlett

Trainer Ben Pauling at Ludlow Racecourse, Shropshire.
Image: Trainer Ben Pauling

Ben Pauling will give serious consideration to supplementing The Cob for the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival following his impressive victory at Doncaster.

The seven-year-old made a flying start to the current campaign with back-to-back wins at Uttoxeter and Haydock, but came up short in his hat-trick bid at Newbury over Christmas.

As a result, he was a 25-1 shot for his first start over three miles in Saturday's Grade Two Albert Bartlett River Don Novices' Hurdle - but ran out a dominant winner under Daryl Jacob to leave connections dreaming of Festival glory.

Pauling said: "I was delighted with him, and he seems in great form this morning.

"Was it a big shock? I think he was under-estimated at the prices, but I can't say I expected him to win in that fashion.

"The step up to three miles has obviously brought out the best in him - he's handled the ground and he's got a decent engine."

Cheltenham has therefore entered the equation.

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"It's just over £4,500 to supplement him for the Albert Bartlett," added Pauling.

"We don't have to supplement him until March 13, so we can train him up to that day - and if he's in bang-on form then I think we will supplement him.

"I didn't enter him originally because I probably thought he was 10lb short of being worthy of an entry. Over two and a half miles, he might have been, but going three miles has clearly made a big difference to him.

"I think he probably deserves to have a go at the Albert Bartlett now, particularly because it looks a very open race this year."

More immediately, the Cotswolds trainer is eyeing big-race success with Shakem Up'Arry in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on February 13.

Runner-up to the brilliant Shishkin in a novice hurdle at the Berkshire circuit last season, the Harry Redknapp-trained seven-year-old was last seen chasing home Harry Fry's Metier in the Grade One Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown.

"There is a strong possibility he will go for the Betfair Hurdle if the ground stays like it is at the moment," Pauling added.

"He is a big, raw horse that will want two and a half miles in time - but he has the gears for two miles, and we know he handles very soft ground very easily and he jumps beautifully.

"I think next season over a fence he is going to be something else - you don't get many that jump as well as he does.

"He is just a very cool horse that I think is going to be a proper novice chaser."

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