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“HE LOVES THE CROWD – IT GETS HIS BLOOD UP”: Emma Lavelle hopeful Paisley Park can land second Stayers’ at 2022 Cheltenham Festival

Paisley Park bids to regain his Stayers’ Hurdle crown later this month



2AR1AEC Paisley Park ridden by Aidan Coleman before the Cleeve Hurdle during Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham Racecourse.

Emma Lavelle believes Paisley Park’s Cleeve Hurdle heroics proved he is still capable at the top-level as he chases more Stayers’ glory at next week’s Cheltenham Festival.

Andrew Gemmell’s gelding shone in the 2018/19 season which culminated in a bloodless win in the Thursday feature, and despite an underwhelming 2020 performance, he bounced back with a brilliant third in the Grade 1 twelve months ago.

And despite an out-of-sorts start to this campaign, he produced a remarkable display to win his third Cleeve Hurdle at Prestbury Park back on Trials Day.


The former champion is now around a 6-1 shot to dethrone Flooring Porter, who beat him last March, longer odds than Champ who he gave a huge start in January but still beat going away.

“Touch wood he’s in really good form, he’s done everything we could have wanted from him up until this point,” Lavelle told At The Races.

Emma Lavelle
An ecstatic Emma Lavelle with husband Barry Fenton as she trains Paisley Park to win The Porsche long Walk Hurdle during the Saturday of the December Racing Weekend at Ascot Racecourse

“It’s lovely to have a favourite because they’re the favourite on their form going in to it, but at the same time now we can just go there and enjoy it.

“He’s been such a star and his last run proved he still has the ability, we go there hopeful and just wanting to enjoy it.”

With crowds now back in attendance following last year’s Festival taking place behind-closed-doors, the Berkshire handler believes this will suit her representative in Gloucestershire come the off.

WPG583 A view of Cheltenham Racecourse and Cheltenham Spa from Cleeve Hill, England Arkle
Between 60-70,000 racegoers attend each of the four days at the Cheltenham Festival

“I think for Paisley it’s a positive, he loves the crowds and it gets his blood up,” she said.

“The fact that the crowds are there again will be a big plus for him.”

Dominic Chapman is senior content writer at Low6 with a passion for horse racing. He provides a NAP and NB every day throughout the week on selected National Hunt and Flat cards in both Britain and Ireland. Additionally, he hosts the Paddock Picks Podcast with former Welsh Grand National-winning pilot, Charlie Poste - the pair interviewing and discussing current racing topics with a special guest every week.