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Record Purchase Caldwell Potter May Not Appear Until Aintree

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Caldwell Potter made history earlier this year when he became the most expensive National Hunt horse in history. He was sold for 740,000 euros (£632,910) at Tattersalls Ireland to a group of owners that includes former Manchester United football manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

As a result of the sale, Caldwell Potter moved to Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls’ Ditcheat operation. Nicholls has begun working with the talented novice hurdler, but he does not believe he will be able to get him ready for an appearance at the Cheltenham Festival.

Grade One Winner Has Entries for Two Festival Races

After making a big mark in the early stages of the 2023/24 National Hunt season, Caldwell Potter was expected to feature in either the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle or Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Those placing horse racing bets on those two races will find Ballyburn is now the strong favourite in both markets, particularly the former where he is as short as evens.

Ballyburn will be one of the most popular Cheltenham Festival bets this year, but those looking for a clash between the Irish-trained horse and Caldwell Potter will have to wait until Aintree at the earliest.

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Nicholls has not ruled out another run over hurdles this season, but he is already planning his novice chase campaign. The 14-time Champion Trainer wants his horse to appear over fences by the end of October.

Two Victories This Season

The six-year-old made his debut over hurdles back in November at Punchestown for Irish trainer Gordon Elliott. He finished second behind a smart horse from Willie Mullins’ yard. He did not need to wait long to break his maiden, as that came just weeks later at Navan.

Elliott opted to step his horse up to the highest level following his victory in a 25-runner contest at Navan. He ran in the Grade One Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown during their Christmas programme. He was successful by six lengths to confirm his class.

Before he was sold at the Tattersalls Ireland sales, he was expected to feature in a Grade One contest at the Dublin Racing Festival. Unfortunately for fans of the horse, he was withdrawn from that race.

Gold Cup Horse in The Future

The new owners of Caldwell Potter believe their new purchase is good enough to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup one day. He is unlikely to run in the Blue Riband event in the sport until 2026, but they are prepared to be patient until then.

Nicholls is a trainer who knows all about Gold Cup success. He has won the Cheltenham Festival feature four times in his career. The Ditcheat man has looked after some of the best chasers in history, including Kauto Star, Denman and Master Minded. His latest recruit has the potential to achieve some of the same success those three horses had.

With such a hefty price tag, the pressure is going to be on Nicholls to get the most out of Caldwell Potter in his career. If he improves again next season, he looks the one to beat in the leading novice chases in the UK and Ireland. 

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