Ben Pauling's Equus Secretus could head to Warwick
Last Updated: 08/01/18 5:51pm
Ben Pauling is contemplating dropping Equus Secretus back down in trip for the Ballymore Leamington Novices' Hurdle at Warwick on Saturday.
The six-year-old is, alongside stablemate Carlos Du Fruitier, one of two potential runners in the two-mile-five-furlong Grade Two for the Bourton-on-the-Water handler.
After winning his first two starts over hurdles, Equus Secretus lost his unbeaten record when finishing a well-held third over three miles at Cheltenham.
Pauling, who claimed the race 12 months ago with subsequent Cheltenham Festival winner Willoughby Court, said: "He is a decent horse and he will run again in either the Leamington at Warwick or an EBF qualifier at Ascot on the 20th.
"I was going to run him in the Challow, and that was the plan, but I thought On The Blind Side and Slate House were going there and they ended up not turning up."
While Equus Secretus plans have yet to be finalised, runaway Fakenham scorer Rio Quinto is likely to take his chance, according to trainer Olly Murphy.
He said: "The plan is to go to Warwick, all being well.
"He was impressive on his hurdling debut at Fakenham and I know this is a step up in grade but he is a horse that we have always thought is a nice a horse. "
The Gordon Elliott-trained Flawless Escape is the sole Irish entry in the race, while the unbeaten reputations of the Nicky Henderson-trained Mr Whipped and Chooseyourweapon, from the yard of Evan Williams, could be put on the line.
Completing the entry list is Cave Top (Oliver Greenall), Knight In Dubai (Dan Skelton), Noble Robin (Jonjo O'Neill), Paisley Park (Emma Lavelle), Tikkanbar (Neil Mulholland) and the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained pair of Calett Mad and Count Meribel.