Having made a fine start to the 2016/17 National Hunt campaign, Gloucestershire-based trainer Ben Pauling is hoping to secure a first win in the Grade 3 Greatwood Hurdle on Sunday.

Three years into his training career, Pauling is aiming to win a race which has even alluded his former boss, Nicky Henderson.

The yard will be saddling three contenders for the prestigious two mile handicap hurdle. The shortest priced of the three currently is new recruit Leoncavallo, who still sports the Bloomfields silks.

The four-year-old gelding ran a creditable fifth behind Ivanovich Gorbatov in this year’s Triumph Hurdle. His seasonal return for his new yard saw him fare an honourable second best to Alan King’s impressive Sceau Royal.

Pauling said: “I hadn’t had him long before the October meeting, probably about 17 days so I didn’t know an awful lot about him.”

He continued: “I was very encouraged by his first run for us, obviously Sceau Royal has franked the form since. He’s due to go up 5lbs this weekend so he’s effectively 5lbs well in, although I thought it was actually a bit stiff. Alex will be taking off seven which will help so I’d like to think he would run a nice race.”

His second representative is the lightly-raced A Hare Breath, who won a competitive handicap hurdle at this meeting 12 months ago.

Owned by Mrs S Embiricos, the eight-year-old son of Alkaadhem is a three-time winner from six starts under rules. He was last seen being pulled up in a competitive handicap hurdle at Kempton in March.

“He wasn’t right when he ran at Kempton but we very quickly decided to give him a nice long summer, he came back in fantastically well,” said Pauling.

“He used to suffer from soundness issues but touch wood he’s had a trouble free preparation. He’s fresh, we’ve put a lot of work into him I hope he’s there to run very well,” he added.

Touch wood he’s had a trouble free preparation

The last challenger from the stable is Cyrius Moriviere, an impressive winner of a novices’ hurdle at Doncaster at the start of the year.

The six-year-old gelding made his reappearance at Cheltenham’s October meeting finishing some way behind the prolific Paul Nicholls-trained Cliffs Of Dover.

“He needed his first run badly. He seems to have come on from it and looks very well in himself, and Maurice Linehan gets on very well with him, he might not win it but he’s a very lively outsider,” said Pauling.

The going at Cheltenham is currently Good, Good to Soft in places. Up to eight millimetres of rain is expected Saturday morning.