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Press Release 9th November 2022 Cheltenham

Ben Pauling hopes he can reward the loyalty of owners Andrew and Jane Megson by scooping another big prize at Cheltenham on day three of The November Meeting (Sunday 13th November) for the pair with Severance, who he expects to run a ‘big race’ in the feature Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle. 

Six months after saddling Global Citizen to glory for the couple in the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase at The Festival™, the Naunton handler will now attempt to give them another special day in the £100,000 Premier Handicap. 

Although the son of Nathaniel is yet to add to his debut success over hurdles at Carlisle in November 2020, the Grade One-winning trainer feels now could be the time he finally doubles that tally after reporting the six year old to be on good terms with himself.

While looking forward to seeing how Severance fares in the extended two mile prize at the weekend, which he is a 14-1 chance with race sponsor Unibet, Pauling still enjoys reflecting on Global Citizen’s finest hour back in March. 

He said: “The Megsons are massive supporters of ours now and we have had some fabulous days and they have some lovely young horses at home. 

“Global Citizen winning for them at The Festival was one of the biggest days for me as it was almost like rewarding their support. It was a very special day as he deserved a big one. 

“He has won multiple Grade Twos but to get one at The Festival, which I didn’t necessarily think would happen, as like a lot of people I didn’t think it was his track, was great and we will probably plot a path back there now.

“The Greatwood is a prize you grow up thinking that would be great to win. It is at Cheltenham second biggest meeting of the year and the highlight of day three. It would be lovely to pick it up and I hope we have got as good a chance as we have had ever. 

“Right at this moment in time Severance couldn’t be in a better place. The ground is fine and I think the track will suit.

“Two miles around Cheltenham where they go a good gallop will be right up his street. I’m quietly confident that he will run a big race.”

Although Severance ran a couple of respectable races in defeat last season, including when finishing second at Cheltenham in January, Pauling insists he was always on the back foot with the former Mick Channon-trained gelding from the word go.

However, after watching Severance finish third in last month’s Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las, Pauling is confident he now has him exactly where he needs to be. 

Pauling said: “He wasn’t right at the beginning of last year but he has worked his way back to form.

“I don’t wait at home for mine to come alive, I run them through it. He finished second at Cheltenham and Aintree last season and he was just knocking on the door. 

“I ran him in the Welsh Champion Hurdle as a bit of a prep run. I thought he was fit enough, but looking at the way how my others are improving for the run I would dare say there is a fair bit left in the tank.

“He has been dropped by the handicapper and he is in very good form with himself. His work has never been brilliant but at the moment he has been very good. 

“He was a tearaway when we inherited him and it has taken until now to really and truly get to the bottom of him and just settle him. Now we can ride him wherever we want to in a race.

“We will be able to sit nice and handy without making it and take a tow through the race. The faster they go the better it will be.”

Twenty four hours earlier stablemate Shakem Up’Arry could attempt to give his famous owner, and former Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United manager, Harry Redknapp victory in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, provided the ground is suitable. 

Although the eight year old is yet to win over two and a half miles Pauling believes the trip will prove no issue should he take his chance in the £160,000 feature. Sponsor Paddy Power make him a 12-1 chance.

Pauling said: “He is a natural jumper, but has been a hard horse to get right every time. He is normally good fresh hence why we are going straight to a big one.

“I think he is a horse that has plenty in hand as I still don’t think he has shown exactly what he is capable of.

“He is in marvellous form and he has schooled very well, but he will only run if the ground is soft enough as that is how he likes it.

“His form would tell you he doesn’t stay two and a half but every jockey under the sun would tell you he wants two and a half, but yet he keeps winning by being a relentless galloper and jumping well over two. I personally think two and a half is within reach.

“Harry is a big supporter of racing and he has lot of horses everywhere these days with shares here and shares there.

“He does love his racing and he puts his money where his mouth is and he does get stuck in so he deserves some big success.”


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