Horse of the Day
HORSE: Paisley Park
RACE: Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle TRAINER: emma Lavelle JOCKEY: Aidan Coleman WHY SHOULD WE WATCH? We all love stories that feature old heroes rolling back the years and the roof would be raised if Paisley Park could pull out one more performance full of tenacity and grit. There is an open feel to the long-distance hurdle championship and none of those lining up can be ruled out. Paisley Park, whose West Hamsupporting owner
Andrew Gemmell was born blind, has an ability to keep defying the odds. He overcame sickness as a young horse to make it on to the track and, during his career, the gelding has often won races with thunderous late charges when all seemed lost.
WHAT HAS HE ACHIEVED SO FAR?
Paisley Park has raced 25 times in his career and earned connections £675,202 through 11 wins, four seconds and six third-place finishes. That is remarkable consistency and while he is now in the veteran stage of life, the fire continues to burn brightly. On Boxing Day, Paisley Park landed the Grade One Long Walk Hurdle at Kempton. Plenty will tell you he is not as good as he was when he won seven straight races between October 2018 and January 2020 but he has been outstandingly well looked after by his canny trainer emma Lavelle. She loves Paisley Park — named after Prince’s record label — with all her heart and would have no hesitation in agreeing that he has been a ‘once in a lifetime’ horse for her proud yard.
WHAT DO THEY SAY ABOUT HIM?
Lavelle must have thought Paisley Park could never surprise her again but that changed on Boxing Day when he won the rescheduled Long Walk Hurdle, the race having been saved after frost forced Ascot to abandon their fixture. ‘It just goes to show that you should never pigeonhole Paisley and I couldn’t have been happier with him on a track (Kempton) that doesn’t play to his strengths,’ said Lavelle. ‘I was very proud that he’s still winning at that level as a 10-year-old.’
CAN HE BE STOPPED?
There are plenty of candidates with strong claims, such as Blazing Khal, Teahupoo, Gold Tweet and Flooring Porter, who has won the Stayers Hurdle for the past two seasons. But Paisley Park is all heart and will certainly make them all fight.