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Ben Pauling’s Le Breuil will be aimed at 2020 Grand National

Le Breuil has been aimed at next year’s Grand National with the sole purpose of his training next season being an appearance in the famous steeplechase. The seven-year-old gave trainer Ben Pauling his second winner at the Cheltenham Festival with a thrilling win in the National Hunt Chase, amidst plenty of controversy. Nevertheless it remains very unlikely that this runner will make any other appearances this season, the trainer of the opinion that his mission has been accomplished.

“I think he’s done enough. He’s perfectly well. The Whitbread (Bet 365 Gold Cup) would be the only thing we’d look at, and we’ll wait a few weeks to see exactly how he’s come out of it, but I think he’s done his job for this season,” the trainer said.

“He’ll be looked after for next season, with the Grand National in mind. He could go back hurdling – something like the West Yorkshire Hurdle at Wetherby might be a starting point.

“He’s such a good jumper of a fence, I don’t think I need to run too many times. We could look at a National trial, but he’s a horse you’d want to get there fresh and well.

“He’s been running over two and a half miles this season, and his class kept him involved, but it was always on the short side. The four miles saw him at his absolute best.”

Le Breuil – under the charge of top Irish amateur jockey Jamie Codd – was chased all the way by Discorama in a race which was held under poor conditions and which resulted in several lengthy riding bans being handed out by stewards.

Pauling himself claimed that this was an over-reaction, the trainer stating: “I’m very much with my fellow trainers in the belief that it wasn’t handled very well – and some of the bans, particularly Jerrysback’s jockey (Declan Lavery), were uncalled for, and I hope they are overturned.

“Going forward we, as horsemen, are going to have to come together and see what we can sort out – because at the moment it isn’t working.

“You are dealing with a race which this year was on very soft ground over four miles, which is an extended trip. A lot were travelling well coming down the hill and then got tired very quickly, because it is that little bit further.

“That doesn’t mean it will be the same every year, and it hasn’t been a problem up until now. I just think it was unfortunate, and if you are not careful you can overreact and do yourselves more harm by worrying about it.

“It’s been a very good race in years gone by, producing Gold Cup winners.”