Pauling pair ready for The Showcase at Cheltenham

Gloucestershire trainer Ben Pauling plans to run talented hurdlers Leoncavallo and Cyrius Moriviere during The Showcase at Cheltenham on Friday, October 21 and Saturday, October 22.

Leoncavallo is set to make his debut for Pauling in the £35,000 Masterson Holdings Hurdle (3.00pm, seven entries, Saturday) over two miles. The four-year-old son of Cape Cross enjoyed a good strike-rate for John Ferguson, who has now retired from training, in his first season over hurdles, being successful on five of his seven starts and finishing fifth behind Ivanovich Gorbatov in the JCB Triumph Hurdle at The Festival in March.

He joined Charlie Appleby for a Flat campaign this summer and, having won over two miles at Lingfield Park in July, was last seen out going down by a head in an 18-furlong handicap at Pontefract on October 3.

Pauling, who trains near Bourton-on-the-Water, said: “Leoncavallo runs in the four-year-old hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday.

“He is still owned by Bloomfields and came to us a day or two after his run at Pontefract, so he hasn’t been here long.

“But he is fit from the Flat and is quite clearly a horse who is a much better hurdler than he is a Flat horse.

“We have given him a couple of pieces of work and schooled him over hurdles twice and his schooling has been electric.

“Having come from the Flat, he hasn’t had much time to settle in and acclimatise.

“We hope he will run well and, after Saturday, we should be able to make some firm plans for him regarding the future.”

Cyrius Moriviere starts his season in the two-mile Racing UK Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (5.40pm, 29 entries) on Friday ahead of a potential return to Cheltenham for the £100,000 StanJames.com Greatwood Hurdle at The Open on Sunday, November 13.

The six-year-old got off the mark over hurdles at Huntingdon in December and hacked by 19 lengths in a novices’ hurdle at Doncaster on January 29. In between, he was pulled up on heavy ground in the G1 Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown Park.

Pauling said: “Cyrius Moriviere kept improving all last season and he is a horse I am very much looking forward to.

“He was going to go straight to the Greatwood but he is a horse that often needs a run and Friday looks an ideal starting point.

“I haven’t left him short to use this as a prep run or anything like that. He is fit and ready to go, so I expect him to run nicely.”

Pauling may also be represented by Kalanisi Circle, a full-brother to G1-winning hurdler Barters Hill, in the concluding White Christmas Parties At Cheltenham Standard Open Bumper (5.15pm, 30 entries) on Saturday.

Owned by Paul & Clare Rooney, Kalanisi Circle was second on his debut in a bumper at Southwell in April.

Pauling said: “I would love to run Kalanisi Circle in the bumper – he is absolutely spot on – but at the moment with the ground as it is he would be no more than 50/50.

“I will have to speak to Paul & Clare Rooney as the horse doesn’t really want quick ground. I may well declare him and see how the ground rides on Friday.

“He is similar to his brother in that he is a very laidback individual, but he would probably have more speed. That doesn’t mean he is a better horse, it just means he is a slightly better work horse.

“He is a very able and I do honestly think a lot of him.”

There are seven races on each day of The Showcase, with the first race due off at 2.10pm on the Friday and 1.50pm on the Saturday.

Saturday’s card is headlined by the Randox Handicap Chase (1.50pm, 28 entries) over three miles and a furlong and the two-mile Randox Health Handicap Chase (3.30pm, 23 entries), both worth £50,000.

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