Horse Talk with Simon Jackson:
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PAISLEY PARK bids to join an illustrious group of repeat winners of the Stayers’ Hurdle when he contests the feature race of the third day of the Cheltenham Festival on March 12.
The eight-year-old has remained at the forefront of the betting for the 2020 renewal of the Grade 1 contest since securing a popular victory when winning the stayers crown last year.
Emma Lavelle’s stable star is unbeaten in two starts this season – the Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury in November and the galliardhomes.com Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham on January 25 – and is now priced at 5-6 for Cheltenham with bookmaker Paddy Power, recently revealed as the new sponsor of the staying hurdlers’ championship.
Staged over three miles, the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle was introduced to The Festival under its current conditions in 1972.
It has been a very good contest for multiple winners, headed by four-time scorer Big Buck’s (2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012). The one triple winner is Inglis Drever, successful in 2005, 2007 and 2008, while there have been three dual winners – Crimson Embers (1982 & 1986), Galmoy (1987 & 1988) and Baracouda (2002 & 2003).
Paul Mallon, head of brand marketing for horse racing Paddy Power, said: “As fans, we have long thought of the Stayers’ Hurdle as one of the most compelling Cheltenham Festival races.
“Big Bucks, Baracouda, Inglis Driver, Paisley Park – winners of this race become legends.”
Carey Weeks, regional head of partnerships for Jockey Club Racecourses South West, added: “Paddy Power has a long association with Cheltenham Racecourse and it is fantastic that its first race sponsorship at The Festival will be in one of the Grade 1 championship races, the Stayers’ Hurdle.
“It has been great to work alongside the team at Paddy Power following the company’s return to sponsorship at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day. With Paddy Power’s support for two races on Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham [in January] and now a first race sponsorship at The Festival, this hopefully signals a fruitful relationship for both parties.”
In other news the Grade 1 novices’ chase (previously run as the JLT Novices’ Chase) and also run on day three of The Festival will now be known as the Marsh Novices’ Chase and sponsored by Marsh, a leading insurance broker and risk adviser.
Staged over two and a half miles, the Marsh Novices’ Chase has a prize fund of £150,000 and in 2019 was won by Defi du Seuil, a leading contender for this season’s Grade 1 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase.
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