Cheltenham 2019: Paisley Park storms to victory in the Stayers’ Hurdle

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And such was the reception he and his great sporting owner and Prince fan Andrew Gemmell received from the crowd, that the whole occasion will be etched in their hearts.

Gemmell, who has been blind since birth, attends sporting events all over the world, but obviously feels that Cheltenham is as special as it gets.

“Paisley Park – nothing compares to you!” he roared to reveal his favourite Prince song.

“It’s a dream come true. I can’t believe it’s happened.”

Paisley Park also runs in the colours of his favourite football team, West Ham United.

“This has been a brilliant journey and I have enjoyed it all the way!” he added.

Trainer Emma Lavelle told jockey Aidan Coleman to “go out and enjoy yourself” on the heavily-backed 11-8 favourite.

Coleman tried to do that but as he later revealed: “He is a very simple ride, and yet he’s quite complicated.”

As usual Paisley Park was held up behind the pace as first Nautical Nitwit and then Sam Spinner made the running. Faugheen, the former Champion Hurdle “winning machine”, tracked the pace much closer, but was unable to quicken when the tap was turned on up the hill. Coleman, who had to shake the reins a few times, was rewarded with a typical, long, late charge past toiling rivals to collar the determined Sam Spinner over the last, despite the pair not meeting it perfectly.

Although Coleman has ridden plenty of winners at the track, his only previous Festival success had come on Kayf Aramis exactly ten years ago.

“I won’t be waiting another ten years for the next one – I’ll be retired!” he quipped.

“That was super. You are never expecting to go round on the bridle on Paisley Park.

“He races behind the bridle, but it is the Stayers’ Hurdle and what he does is stay exceptionally well.

“Although coming down the hill you’d like to be going that little bit better, you do know that when you meet the rising ground, you’re going to get there.

“He’s a fantastic horse to be associated with.

“I could not see him getting beat – I’m just living the dream at the moment.”

Immediately after crossing the line Coleman’s thoughts turned to his former best friend Campbell Gillies, who won on Brindisi Breeze at the Festival in 2012, but tragically drowned when on holiday in Corfu in the same year.

“He had his best day here a few years ago,” explained Coleman. “He is always in our hearts.”

The trainer, who was celebrating her third Festival success said: “It’s probably the best he’s jumped and he’s a very special horse.

Joe Colliver reported a “great ride” on Sam Spinner, adding: “We were just beaten by a better horse.”

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