After Cheltenham Festival glory, Paisley Park is set to rest till next season
The seven year-old gelding Paisley Park seems to be taking star celebrity status in his stride at Emma Lavelle Racing's stables in Ogbourne Maizey, near Marlborough. Posing for visitors from a syndicate, he looks a picture [above] in his Sun Racing Stayers' Hurdle cloth - in the safe hands of travelling head girl Laura Scrivener.
With his five straight wins over the 2018-2019 season - winning at Aintree, Haydock Park, Ascot and twice at Cheltenham - he probably deserves a bit of rest. His owner Andrew Gemell has told the Racing Post: "We won't go to Aintree. It comes too soon, but my other fear was that it woulod be a small field and no pace. That's a recipe for disaster."
"It's also odds against running at Punchestown this year [30 April-4 May]. He's been on the go since October and is only seven years old. Next season we will have a much more concentrated path, probably starting at Newbury, followed by Ascot, Cheltenham twice and then hopefully Punchestown."
Paisley's win at the Cheltenham Festival in the three miles Sun Racing Stayers' Hurdle delighted Andrew Gemmel, his many friends, trainer Emma Lavelle and her husband Barry who rides him out every day - not to mention all the staff at Emma Lavelle's Bonita Racing Stables.
Paisley was kept back by his regular jockey Aidan Coleman - kept back for a heart-stopping number of furlongs - and only drew away in the final 75 yards. "A race timed to perfection" as one expert put it. He won over Sam Spinner - another seven year-old - by two-and-threequarter lengths, with the eleven year-old Faugheen in third place.
Paisley has been the subject of our Horse Profile feature for some weeks - and will stay in his rightful place till the season ends and we find a Flat star to take his place - at least until next October!
In the photo above note his head band in the Gemell racing colours - he has certainly earned the attention he's given.