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French Stayers' Hurdle hope Paul's Saga to make British debut at Warwick

  • Paul's Saga has been entered to run in the Listed Mares' Hurdle at Warwick on Saturday
  • French trainer David Cottin is using the race as her prep for the Stayers' Hurdle
  • Champion jockey Brian Hughes will take the ride on the 1/2 favourite
  • Cottin also provided a positive update on Cross Country favourite Easysland
warwick hurdle
Warwick plays host to a French Grade One winner on Saturday. (Getty)

David Cottin has chosen Warwick as the place to give his stable star, Paul's Saga her first run on British soil.

Cottin's seven-year-old has won multiple Graded prizes in her homeland and entered the Stayers' Hurdle picture after an impressive Grade One triumph at Auteuil in October.

Although she suffered defeat on her final outing of 2020, that hasn't put Cottin off a trip to the Cheltenham Festival. With few options open to him in France this side of Christmas, Cottin has picked out the Listed' Mares' Hurdle at Warwick this weekend as his mare's Cheltenham Festival warm-up.

“I chose the race for Paul’s Saga at Warwick on Saturday as it’s a month away from Cheltenham and shouldn’t be too hard a race for her." Cottin told The Jockey Club this week. 

"I think it will be a good prep race for the Stayers’ Hurdle, although obviously she will have to adapt to British style hurdles and the different rhythm of racing."

“She arrived in England last Saturday and has settled in really well, so I am very happy. We had to do it this way because of Government protocol for staff travel, but it doesn’t worry me."

“She worked well before travelling, and arriving a week before the race doesn’t concern me. When a horse is ready, it is not in the last week before a race that all the hard work is done."

“I think to go on to The Festival she must win on Saturday, or at least run a very good race. If everything goes well, then she really should be able to win this. We just have to hope that the weather doesn’t interfere too much!”

Cottin's raider will carry a Grade One-winners penalty, and faces stiff competition from Molly Ollys Wishes, Dolcita and a former Cheltenham Festival winner in Eglantine Du Seuil. 

That hasn't stopped Paddy Power pricing Paul's Saga up at 1/2 to win on Saturday, and an impressive victory would see her 12/1 odds in the 2021 Stayers' Hurdle betting shorten a little too.

easysland
Easysland bolts up in the Cross Country at Cheltenham. (Getty)

Cottin also provided an update on Easysland, who thrashed Tiger Roll to win the Cross Country at last year's Cheltenham Festival.

Easysland was well-beaten under top-weight on his return to Cheltenham in the autumn, but Cottin has been pleased with the way his stable star has been going at home,

“Easysland is in good form before the Festival, and I’m very happy with him." Cottin continued. 

"He’ll go there fit and ready. Ajas will also run in the Cross Country, as I think it will be a good prep for him in view to the Grand National. 

“It’s been a good stepping stone for Tiger Roll in the past, so I think this is the ideal option for him too. He’s a very good horse. It’ll be interesting to see him run over a bit of distance and in a race with pace. 

“I think he’ll adapt well as he’s easy to ride and respects his fences. Meanwhile, Mica Malpic is entered in the Triumph Hurdle, but I don’t think he’ll be ready in time.”

Easysland is Paddy Power's 7/4 favourite to retain his Cross Country crown, and can currently be found at 33/1 to win the 2021 Grand National.
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