Thank you Bart Tributes as Pauling’s stable star retires
THE owners of Barters Hill have paid tribute to him after his retirement was announced by Ben Pauling.
The trainer’s first Grade One winner was pulled up by David Bass in Saturday’s Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle, so connections have decided to call it a day.
In two runs since he slipped a tendon off his hock on his chasing debut at Cheltenham, the eight-year-old has looked a shadow of his former self.
Spokesman for owners the Circle Of Friends partnership, Randy Weeks, said there was always a chance he would not return to his best, but his exploits live long in the memory.
In his pomp, Barters Hill was one of the best novice hurdlers in the country and several impressive performances propelled him to the top of the antepost list for the 2016 Albert Bartlett.
“He took us to places that we would never have dared dream of when we first saw him as gangly three year old,” said Weeks.
“Owning the horse that gave Ben a massive kick-start on his way to a successful career was very special, as most of the syndicate have known Ben since he was a little boy or are related to him.
“We had so much fun until his injury at Cheltenham that we knew we had to give him every chance of making it back onto the racecourse competi- tively.
“Ben, his team and the vets who looked after him couldn’t have done more to make that happen but in the end, it wasn’t to be.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the flood of best wishes for Bart in his retirement; it has just proved what a very popular horse he is.”
The serious injury put Barters Hill on the sidelines for 456 days, following a fourth at the Cheltenham Festival and seven straight victories prior to that.
The haul included the Grade Two bumper at Aintree’s Grand National meeting and the 2015 Challow Hurdle at Newbury.
While still learning his trade, he saw off Altior and Buveur D’air, two horses that now set the standard in the very best two mile chases and hurdles respectively.
After being retired, many trainers send their horses into alternative disciplines such as dressage or showjumping, but the Gloucestershire star would not be able to do any of the former due to his old injury.
“I’m not going to continue to run him when he is not right,” Pauling said to Racing UK after making his decision.
“He has been a horse that won his first seven, won me my first Grade One, my first Listed race, Grade Two and really put me on the map.
“There is nothing else he could have done for me. He had worked really well at home, but today (Saturday) it didn’t work and that is that.”
David Bass riding Barters Hill clear the last to win The Betfred ‘Goals Galore’ Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury on December 29, 2015