Paisley Park survived a last-flight blunder to justify favouritism and record a fairytale success for his connections in the Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Emma Lavelle’s seven-year-old – whose owner Andrew Gemmell has been blind from birth – had enjoyed a perfect season to date with four impressive victories which saw punters send him off at 11-8.
With confidence building behind former champion hurdler Faugheen in recent days, however, and Ruby Walsh having him in the perfect position throughout, Paisley Park faced his toughest test to date.
As he has in the past, Paisley Park had got a little outpaced with a mile to run, but just like in the Cleeve Hurdle, he came charging around the outside to take over from Sam Spinner, a 33-1 chance this year having been sent off favourite 12 months ago.
With Faugheen now running on empty in third it looked a foregone conclusion, but with a length lead approaching the last, Paisley Park launched himself at it, managing to stay on his feet before winning by two and three-quarter lengths.
The story of his owner has been well told in the build up to the meeting and hot on the heels of Bryony Frost bringing the house down aboard Frodon in the Ryanair Chase, the Cheltenham crowd welcomed home another popular winner.
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