Paisley Park goes to Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham Festival with a ‘puncher’s chance’ after remarkable win in Cleeve Hurdle

Paisley Park and Aidan Coleman win the Stayers’ Hurdle at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival. (Pic: Courtesy of Cheltenham Racecourse).

Horse Talk with Simon Jackson:

Top horse-racing tips and the latest news.

PAISLEY Park’s price for the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle was slashed to 6-1 from 20-1 (sponsor’s odds) after a dramatic win in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday.

The 10-year-old was posting a joint-record third victory in the established trial for the staying hurdlers’ crown and victory looked unlikely when he missed the start, conceding many lengths to his rivals and leaving him detached from the field.

Paisley Park – winner of the 2019 Stayers’ Hurdle and third in that race last year – remained last when the field turned into the straight on Saturday, though closer to his rivals. Hard-ridden by jockey Aidan Coleman he rallied to lead at the last fence and kept on in the run-in to score a remarkable victory.

“It was really emotional with all the support we get from everybody for Paisley and what he has done for us,” trainer Emma Lavelle said.

“He came here in great order but I was worried about the ground and Andrew [Gemmell – owner] not being here today was just a sadness really. He will be very chirpy in his hospital bed. He wears his heart on his sleeve.

“Missing the start I was like ‘Oh My God’, but he was able to make that ground up and Aidan did that quietly, quietly and that was just vintage Paisley. He makes it hard to watch as so many people have rallied around him and supported him. We are so lucky to be a part of him.

“I loved the way he travelled all the way through the race. Aidan had him where he wanted him once we were back on the tail of them. He was never throughout the main body of the race doing anything other than travelling within himself. They’ve then quickened and I thought ‘uh-oh’ then the camera shot changes and you think we are here and he is coming.

“He is a special horse. I think we really missed this race last year with not being able to have that run before The Festival. I’m very happy with the fact we have done this and it’s all systems go now for The Festival.”

Aidan Coleman added: “It’s a very special moment and I’m delighted with that. He’s a special horse and there’s not many more superlatives you can use. He’s a pleasure to be associated with and we’re delighted.

“That victory has got to rank right up there even with his Grade 1 wins. He’s just a very special horse. We always believed he still had that ability and the form was in the book, he’s placed every run he’s had this year.

“He goes to The Festival with a puncher’s chance. He always has a chance, especially on this track. Cheltenham is his track and we’ll enjoy today.”

Read ‘Horse Talk with Simon Jackson’ for top horse racing tips and the latest news.