Emma Lavelle Hoping Cheekpieces Gets Paisley Park Back To His Best

Paisley Park

Grade One winning trainer Emma Lavelle is hoping the addition of cheekpieces to Paisley Park on Friday will be enough to get him back to his best in the Grade Two Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury.

Paisley Park showed he was back to his best last season after a superb second behind the young pretender Thyme Hill in the Grade Two Long Distance Cup at Newbury on his seasonal debut and then backed that up by reversing the form in the Grade One Long Walk Hurdle.

He was then sent back to the Cheltenham festival looking to reclaim his Stayers' Hurdle title but had to settle for third, coming from a long way off the pace.

The gelding finished the season on a sour note when being pulled up in the Aintree Grade One Stayers' Hurdle, with him having plenty of excuses.

He again took another step backwards on seasonal debut this term in the Grade Two bet365 hurdle at Wetherby when only finishing third, being well beaten by rivals he takes on again on Friday.

However, the yard are hoping that is mind will be more on the job this time with cheekpieces added and overall he should be a much fitter horse for that run.

(Credit ATR) “This is an important race for Paisley Park to decide what the next step is,” said Lavelle.

“He doesn’t in any way suggest at home that he is any different to how he’s been in other years, but he has to go and do it at Newbury.

“The entries are pretty much what we’ve just run against and if he doesn’t step up on his first run, then we know we are not where we were and we will have to make a decision on what we are doing. Do we let him have a try over fences or stay over hurdles?

Lavelle added: “We are not putting them (cheekpieces) on because he is not genuine or saving something for himself, therefore it’s not about having a visor to block out everything, it’s about doing something to make him concentrate a bit more and stop him worrying about galloping alongside other horses and to think more about travelling and what’s going on in the race.

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing