Trainer Emma Lavelle says it has been a privilege to train “horse of a lifetime” Paisley Park as he eyes up more success at the Cheltenham Festival in Thursday’s showpiece, the Stayers’ Hurdle
The 7/1 runner, ridden by Aidan Coleman, has become a firm favourite by all who have attended and watched the Festival in recent years. A remarkable horse who has built up a cult following and delivered a Festival triumph in the Stayers’ Hurdle in 2019, to the delight of his owner, Andrew Gemmell.
Lavelle believes that the horse himself loves the Festival and feeds off the buzz around the historic racecourse.
She said: “He loves Cheltenham and clearly that’s an important factor, and I think he’s one of those that loves the crowds, loves the noise, loves that amphitheatre that is Cheltenham. It gets his blood up and I think some horses probably find that a bit intimidating whereas I think he does just play to the crowd.
“So I think that is an advantage for us, but we’ll go there with a degree of optimism, we’ll be excited and just, you know, fingers crossed. It is the hardest place to win races at, so you can never go there feeling confident, but you can always go there feeling hopeful.”
Lavelle went on to add how great the 10-year-old has been to work with and that he is truly one special horse.
“I think he has to be a horse of a lifetime, he’s so special in so many ways and obviously with Andrew owning him it brings another dimension to it,” she said.
“I’ve said it from the beginning, we are privileged to train him and we owe him so much. He has done so much for us and the way that the public have taken him to their hearts as well, the fact he gets a constant supply of polos sent through the post and fan mail. It’s a very special place to be.”
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