Pauling to take time but injured ace could run again this season
Trainer Ben Pauling expects it to be "a few weeks" before a prognosis for Barters Hill's return to the track can be made after he was pulled up at Cheltenham on Friday but has not ruled out him returning this season.
The Grade 1-winning hurdler was pulled up on his chasing debut and was found to have slipped a tendon off a hind hock, an injury that is not expected to be career threatening.
Pauling, who trains the six-year-old for the Circle Of Friends partnership, said on Saturday: "He's well and comfortable in his box. He went out for a pick of grass this morning but it'll be a few weeks before we have an idea of how long it will be until he's sound again."
'Play it by ear'
Barters Hill was beaten for the first time in his career, which included a Grade 2 bumper success at the Aintree festival and the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle last year, when fourth behind Unowhatimeanharry in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
There had been great excitement around his first start over fences but he was pulled up sharply after jumping the seventh fence in the contest won by O O Seven.
Pauling is set to take things steadily with Barters Hill, although he has not ruled out his stable star returning this season. He said: "We're possibly looking more at next season, but if they do come right they can do so quicker than expected so we'll play it by ear.
"Whatever we do we'll be 100 per cent sure it's the best thing for the horse, so it's a case of sitting and waiting for now."