Paisley Park gives Emma Lavelle that Cheltenham Festival fervour

first_imgCheltenham Gold Cup Share on Pinterest Support The Guardian Gemmell has been in ownership for a decade or so but Paisley Park, who dotted up by 12 lengths, is easily the best he has owned outright and is now favourite for the Stayers’ Hurdle in two months’ time at a best price of 7-2. “It is extraordinary,” Gemmell said. “I was hopeful but you never know, as his one bad run was at Cheltenham last season. He was at death’s door and it is a remarkable recovery and I’m just really chuffed.”Doing her best to play it cool, and not quite succeeding, Lavelle greeted reporters with: “That was quite impressive, wasn’t it?” The Wiltshire trainer has had her share of bad luck in 20 years with a licence but perhaps her biggest job for the next six weeks will be containing her nerves and those of the person who has become her most important owner.“Andrew is the most extraordinarily brave man,” she said, “and he can drink better than any man I know. It couldn’t happen to a nicer person. We don’t all start in life on a level playing field and he has definitely not let that hold him back. Thrilled as I am for us, I’m even more thrilled for him.”There was a much closer finish to the Cotswold Chase when Frodon was rather clinging on to his advantage as he tired up the hill with Elegant Escape pounding remorselessly after him. But the winner did enough to convince connections that the Gold Cup is where he belongs, unless soft ground in mid-March forces a late switch to the shorter Ryanair. Share on Messenger Share on Facebook Since you’re here… Talking Horses: Racing ‘missing a trick’ over in-running betting drones Was this helpful? Talking Horses: Racing ‘missing a trick’ over in-running betting drones Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn news Share on WhatsApp … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. 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The Observer Horse racing tips Quick guide Chris Cook’s tips for Sunday Cheltenham Festival Read more Topics Hide Share via Email That means Bryony Frost is likely to become the third female jockey to ride in jump racing’s most prestigious contest and though Frodon is a 20-1 shot he will surely give his backers a thrill with another frontrunning, bold-jumping effort. “So brave, isn’t he?” Frost said. “The whole heart is in there for you. Me and him out there, it’s the best buzz you could ever live in.”Paul Nicholls reckons he left Frodon a gallop short for this contest, a necessary risk if the horse was to have a proper mid-season break, and so there is a sharper edge to be put on him before the Gold Cup. “If I can just get a bit more improvement out of him yet, he’s the sort of horse who could well run into the frame,” the trainer said. Read more Paisley Park was a hugely popular winner of the Cleeve Hurdle and surely no horse will go into March’s Festival here with a greater weight of public sentiment behind him. Enormously improved this winter, Paisley Park endured a life-threatening illness a couple of years ago and represents Emma Lavelle, who has never previously had a Grade One winner in her yard, and the owner, Andrew Gemmell, who has been blind since birth and developed a love of horseracing while listening to radio commentaries as a schoolboy.Now in his 60s, Gemmell named Paisley Park after the Minnesota estate and recording studios of Prince and it turns out the owner is a huge fan of the late pop star. “Let’s go crazy,” he announced to his gleeful entourage, a song reference that other Prince fans will instantly recognise. Horse racing Reuse this contentlast_img

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