Pauling hoping Le Breuil can be National fairytale

Ben Pauling admits to dreams of Le Breuil bringing him a fairytale story in the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree this spring.

The trainer has yet to saddle a runner of any description in the Merseyside marathon but that will change if Le Breuil gets his chance to shine on April 4th.

First time’s a charm

Gordon Elliott will this year be saddling Tiger Roll in his attempt to win an unprecedented third straight Grand National.

The Co Meath trainer is a household name these days with a plethora of big-race wins under his belt.

Back in 2007, Elliott was but a year into his training career when he saddled Silver Birch to win the Grand National. Victory at the first attempt and the first sign that the Irish trainer was going to something a bit special.

Pauling has been training under his own steam most impressively since he left his position as Nicky Henderson’s second in command at Seven Barrows in 2013. Things have mostly gone well, with year-on-year progress, but he has yet to attack the National.

The 145-rated Le Breuil needs some jigsaw pieces to fall into place as he sits 71st in the entry list but Pauling’s hope is that he will run.

“Any trainer would love to win the Grand National and doing it with my first runner would be something quite extraordinary,” he told the Racing Post.

“I’d be absolutely delighted and it would be an exceptionally special thing. In Le Breuil, I think I’ve got a really good candidate for the job.”

Signs have been pleasing

Le Breuil won the attritional four-miler at the Cheltenham Festival last March on a landmark afternoon for his trainer.

The stamina-sapping journey around Prestbury Park was a positive affirmation that Aintree might be his thing.

On his first chase start of this season he finished seventh as Walk In The Mill won the Becher Chase over the famous National fences. It was a run that left Pauling feeling heartened, given the context.

“My horses haven’t been in great form all year but they were in particularly bad form when he ran in the Becher and he looked like the winner most of the way,” Pauling said.

“He jumped and travelled beautifully and he was still off the bridle crossing the Melling Road. He just took a good blow as a lot of them were at the time and he still finished nicely.

“To us that was an insufficient trip and he still finished very nicely so we couldn’t have been any happier.

“Jamie Codd was absolutely thrilled with the way he jumped that day. He said he hasn’t had one jump and travel round there like that before. He’s a very good, economical jumper and he seemed to suit the fences well.”

Onwards to Aintree

The eight-year-old has since turned out in the Classic Chase at Warwick where his trainer felt a standing start compromised his hopes.

He never managed to get into a rhythm that day but, all things considered, Pauling was happy that Le Breuil stuck to his task and came home quite well to finish fifth in the end.

All roads are now hopefully leading to Aintree, though the planned participation of Tiger Roll means it’s very likely that Pauling won’t be able to draw on the superb services of amateur rider Codd come April 4th.

The trainer is philosophical at this stage in regards to riding arrangements.

“Nobody wants Tiger Roll not to line up but if he does Jamie [Codd] won’t be able to do the weight, and if he doesn’t Jamie probably will,” he added.

“We’ll have to suck it and see and Tiger Roll is obviously well on track at the moment. If he runs it’ll probably have to be someone who can do ten stone.”

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