Ben Pauling concerned time is against Willoughby Court's Aintree bid

    Ben Pauling fears Aintree may come too quickly for Willoughby Court after his star novice chaser missed the Cheltenham Festival due to a setback.
  • Saturday 17 March 2018
  • News

Ben Pauling fears Aintree may come too quickly for Willoughby Court after his star novice chaser missed the Cheltenham Festival due to a setback.

The seven-year-old was successful at the Festival last year and had been one of the leading hopes for the JLT Novices' Chase after winning two of three outings over fences this term.

However, a foot problem saw him ruled out of the Festival at the end of February and Pauling is not certain he will be ready to bid for compensation at Aintree's Grand National meeting, which kicks off on April 12.

He told Racing UK: "He's in great form. It was quite a nasty infection in his foot and we'll look at him this week and see where he goes.

"He's sound and much better, but whether or not Aintree might come a bit close is a bit of a worry as we have missed a serious chunk of time now. He's all in one piece and that's just fabulous news.

"Paul and Clare (Rooney, owners) have been amazing about the whole thing because they had some rough luck for the Festival this year, but thankfully they'll all to be there to fight another day."

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