Barters Hill (right) 
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Tattersalls Ireland

Ben Pauling is considering options at Ascot and Haydock as potential comeback targets for the long-absent Barters Hill.

The Grade One-winning hurdler has been sidelined by injury since pulling up on his chasing debut at Cheltenham in November 2016, but is closing in on a return.

The Bourton-on-the-Water-based trainer has admitted only time will tell whether his one-time stable star retains all of his ability, but is encouraged by his current condition.

Pauling said: “The plan is to run him over hurdles on January 20, either in a two-mile-three-furlong race at Ascot which is an open handicap, or a 0-140 at Haydock over two-mile-six. He is great and he has just done his second piece of work in Lambourn on Friday.

“He is rated 142 and he would have to carry a fair bit of weight, but that will not affect him.

“He definitely seems to retain a lot of ability, but whether he is as good as he was, we won’t know until he gets to the track.

“We are happy with where he is and it will be lovely to have him back in business for us.”