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Paisley Park "in great order" ahead of Cleeve Hurdle defence at Cheltenham

Tue 26 Jan 2021

Star staying hurdler Paisley Park is among nine entries for Saturday’s Paddy Power Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Emma Lavelle’s stalwart got back to winning ways last time out in a thrilling finish with Thyme Hill in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot.

Philip Hobbs has not entered his charge this time around, but the Ascot form was boosted at the weekend when Roksana, who was third, was an easy winner.

 Paisley Park will face a maximum of eight rivals (Focusonracing)
Paisley Park will face a maximum of eight rivals (Focusonracing)

“On paper it might not look as tough as the Long Walk, that’s true, and he’s in great order,” said Lavelle.

“What will be nice will be to go back to Cheltenham and have a nice experience after what happened at the Festival last year.

“While I’m glad there’s not going to be a massive field, I want him to have a nice experience. I certainly wouldn’t say it looks easy, though – all races at this level are difficult.

“We’ll be giving weight away, but he seems in great order and the timing of this race is absolutely perfect as we can let him down a bit after it.

“Obviously the ground looks like being testing, but we can’t do much about that. We’d love it if the forecast was a bit better and it wasn’t a real slog, but it is what it is. He loves racing, this horse.”

Harry Fry’s veteran Unowhatimeanharry is among potential opponents, along with the David Pipe duo of Ramses De Teillee and Main Fact, who had his long winning run ended in the Long Walk.

Itchy Feet could return to hurdles for Olly Murphy, with Third Wind (Hughie Morrison) another possible.

Paddy Power Cleeve Hurdle: Sponsor bets: 1-2 Paisley Park, 9-2 Itchy Feet, 7-1 Honest Vic, Main Fact, 10-1 Third Wind, 16-1 Unowhatimeanharry, 25-1 Ramses De Teillee, 33-1 Decor Irlandais, 66-1 Hear No Evil.

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