Paisley Park will bid for a third Howden Long Walk Hurdle title when he lines
up at Ascot on December 17.
The popular 10-year-old was involved in one of the races of the season when beaten a neck by old adversary Champ in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury on Friday.
The Emma Lavelle-trained gelding was in front shortly after the line as he just failed to reel in the long-time leader in the Grade Two contest.
Now the winner of the Long Walk Hurdle in 2018 and 2020 will bid to regain his crown after finding that same rival five and a quarter-lengths too good in last year’s renewal.
Owner Andrew Gemmell was thrilled with Paisley Park’s first run of the season.
He said: “We could not have asked for more than he did – he ran an absolute cracker.
“It won’t be far off from being one of the races of the season. It was an absolute thriller. Races like that are what turns people onto the sport, one hundred per cent. It was brilliant – a really good race.
“He is hugely consistent and the only time he lets himself down is when he decides not to start.
“He stayed on, and the ground was not as quite as soft as he wanted. I think he will definitely come on for it.”
Connections will follow a well-trodden path, with Ascot and Cheltenham the next stopping points.
Gemmell added: “Paisley Park is really well and has taken the race in his stride. We will go to the Long Walk, then the Cleeve, and then hopefully get to the Stayers’ Hurdle.
“He has won the Long Walk twice and hopefully we can do it again. I’d love to see him do it again. The Long Walk and The Cleeve would be brilliant – it would be great to see him win that for a fourth time!”
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