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    Lavelle's Optimism Soars as Paisley Park Seeks to Relive Past Glory
Lavelle's Optimism Soars as Paisley Park Seeks to Relive Past Glory
Image courtesy of Irish Examiner

Lavelle's Optimism Soars as Paisley Park Seeks to Relive Past Glory

Emma Lavelle has expressed her enthusiasm for the possibility of Paisley Park emerging victorious in the upcoming Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle next month.


The 12-year-old gelding, a firm fan favourite, is set to participate in the illustrious race for an astonishing sixth time, marking his seventh appearance at Cheltenham Festival. Having triumphed in the event back in 2019 and securing third place in both 2021 and 2022, Paisley Park has etched his name in the annals of Stayers' Hurdle history.

Despite doubts surrounding the continuation of his career after an underwhelming performance last year, Paisley Park has showcased immense resilience this season. He has narrowly missed victory in three closely contested finishes, including a remarkable bid for a fourth win in Ascot's Long Walk Hurdle, where he was edged out by Crambo, one of the frontrunners for the Stayers' Hurdle. Reflecting on Paisley Park's current form, Lavelle shared,

"He is in exceptional form. Following the Cleeve Hurdle, he enjoyed a leisurely week and is now back cantering with great enthusiasm. Over the past few days, he has been striding along brilliantly and truly believes he is invincible. It's a wonderful attribute to possess!"

Lavelle further highlighted the level of competition Paisley Park faces, underscoring his performances against Crambo and Noble Yeats, despite conceding weight in the Cleeve Hurdle. She noted that these horses are currently considered frontrunners in the betting market, surpassing Paisley Park's odds. However, if Paisley Park brings his A-game, Lavelle remains optimistic about his chances.

"We have an immense affection for him, but he certainly puts us through a whirlwind of emotions! He builds up our hopes, and at times, he exudes an air of invincibility. Yet, there are occasions when he simply feels that today isn't his day. He is truly an extraordinary individual,"

she added.

Regarding the question of whether this could potentially be Paisley Park's final appearance at Cheltenham, Lavelle suggested that the ultimate decision rests solely with the horse. Reflecting on the progress made since last year's Stayers' Hurdle, where Paisley Park finished unplaced, Lavelle found it hard to fathom that he has only been narrowly beaten in three races, all of which were Grade Two or Grade One events.

Additionally, Lavelle marvelled at the fact that some of the horses Paisley Park competed against were not even born when he secured his first victory in the Long Walk Hurdle, specifically mentioning Paul Nicholls' Blueking D'Oroux. Lavelle concluded by mentioning that Paisley Park's current challenge lies in the fact that he believes he has emerged victorious when he goes racing, as he is showered with adoration and support from everyone. It is their responsibility to remind him that he has actually finished in second place.

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