Paisley Park was unbeaten in seven races between October 2018 and January 2020, including a famous win in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in March 2019. But Emma Lavelle’s nine-year-old, who remains one of the most popular horses in training, has just one win to his name in six starts before the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury on Friday.
He also renews acquaintance with Paul Webber’s mare Indefatigable, who was five lengths in front of him at Wetherby last month, and Lisnagar Oscar, the 50-1 winner of the Stayers’ in 2020 when the defending champion was a long way below his best.
Paisley Park (3.00) is 6lb better off with Indefatigable on Friday, however, and showed more than enough in the closing stages at Wetherby to suggest he can reverse the form with that run behind him.
Newbury 1.15: Aidan Coleman takes the ride on hot favourite Jonbon after Nico de Boinville sustained an injury in a fall while schooling on Thursday morning, and will hope to land the spoils with a minimum of fuss. Nicky Henderson’s five-year-old was a deeply impressive bumper winner at this track in March and nothing less than a victory will do on his hurdling debut if he is to retain his position as second-favourite for the Supreme Novice Hurdle at the Festival next year.
Newbury 1.50: Several of these were very useful over hurdles and will ensure a tough test for Boothill, the likely favourite, on his chasing debut. Fifty Ball made a solid start over fences behind the prolific Minella Trump at Sandown earlier this month, and the 4-1 chance remains open to plenty of improvement as he returns to the track and trip where he finished a three-length second in last season’s Betfair Hurdle.
Newbury 2.25: Phoenix Way has clearly not been an easy horse to train but he has shown glimpses of serious potential several times on his sporadic trips to the track. He has had a second wind op since running with credit in a Grade One at Aintree in April and is worth an interest at around 9-2 to register a third career-win after a break.
Newbury 3.35: A highly competitive stayers’ handicap hurdle to conclude the card, with Alrightjack possibly the pick of the prices at around 12-1. His winning form at Fontwell last time is backed-up by the clock and the way he stayed on there suggests this step up in trip should suit.