Fes­ti­val doubt

Evening Telegraph (First Edition) - - Uk World Today -

BEN Paul­ing ad­mits it is 70-30 against Wil­loughby Court run­ning at the Chel­tenham Fes­ti­val at the mo­ment.

Hav­ing pro­vided the trainer with a first Fes­ti­val win last March, Wil­loughby Court was favourite to strike again in the JLT Novices’ Chase.

How­ever, Paul­ing re­vealed the seven-year-old had pus in a foot and time is tick­ing away.

“Every day that goes by is an­other day we are miss­ing. It is get­ting very close and, in all hon­esty, he is not the sort of horse I am go­ing to take there un­less I am 100% happy,” said Paul­ing.

“I’m afraid pus in the foot is a very in­signif­i­cant in­jury long term. Short term it can be quite sore and slow you down.You don’t want to work a horse which is favour­ing one leg over an­other oth­er­wise they might get an in­jury.

“It’s look­ing like we are strug­gling. I would say it is 70-30 against him run­ning at the mo­ment. I’m not go­ing to risk a horse of that abil­ity.

“Be­lieve you me, hav­ing a horse that is favourite for the JLT is not some­thing you want to give up, How­ever, at the same time you have to be re­al­is­tic about it.

“You also have to think about the long term fu­ture of the horse.”

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