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Ben Pauling makes hopeful Tellherthename admission despite disappointing Cheltenham effort

Ben Pauling is retaining plenty of faith in Tellherthename and is relishing the prospect of running his star novice again this season when ground conditions improve.

The five-year-old has always been the apple of the Naunton Downs handler’s eye and he advertised his star quality with two bloodless victories at Huntingdon either side of a disappointing showing in Aintree’s Formby Hurdle on Boxing Day.

That no show on Merseyside came on testing ground and connections’ wariness of slow going was shown when a wet February curtailed a Betfair Hurdle bid.

Despite the rain continuing to fall in the build up to the Cheltenham Festival, Pauling still felt it was worth chancing his talented operator on the treacherous opening day ground in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

However, having led the runners into the straight, Tellherthename was unable to quicken as he was passed by the majority of the field in the Festival’s opening event, giving his team the evidence they needed to firmly seek good ground in the future.

“I think for Tellherthename it (the Supreme) went perfectly and he travelled and he jumped brilliantly,” said Pauling.

“He looked very much in his comfort, but we now know if you ask him to quicken in that heavy ground, he just can’t do it.

“He’s definitely got another run on his agenda this season and whether that be Aintree or somewhere else I’m not sure, but he’s come out of it like a horse that hasn’t had a hard race. He’s bouncing.

“We’re looking forward to the rain stopping and the ground drying. He’s a classy individual and I just adore him but he just cannot quicken on that ground and I just think now we know that we can avoid it.

“We were confident that was the problem at Aintree (in the Formby) but it was the Festival and we wanted to roll the dice and at least it was wet ground, but he’s just a classy horse with plenty of speed and testing ground just doesn’t suit him.”

There was both joy and agony for Pauling and his team over the four days of the Festival, exemplified by the contrasting fortunes of the Harry Redknapp-owned pair Shakem Up’Arry and The Jukebox Man, with the former giving Pauling his fourth Festival victory and the latter coming desperately short in his bid to be number five.

There was also a near miss for Twig in the Ultima, but there was some mixed results as well throughout the week, with the handler regarding Handstands’ Gallagher Novices’ Hurdle disappointment as the biggest blow of the meeting.

Heading to Prestbury Park on the back of a brilliant Sidney Banks victory at Huntingdon, hopes were high he could make his mark up against Irish hotpot Ballyburn.

However, he could only finish last of the six finishers with Pauling feeling it may have been a case of one too many runs this term.

“Handstands was probably the biggest disappointment of the week and was a horse who we went into it not knowing where his limits lay,” continued Pauling.

“He fell far short of what we needed and Harry Cobden said he felt like he was never really on a going day.

“He only won his point-to-point in November and he has run three times including the Huntingdon Listed race en route, so maybe he just had one run to many.

“He’s finished for the season and is off doing dressage for a month now. He will come back as a lovely novice chaser for next season.”

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