Paisley Park on course for Stayers' Hurdle defence

Benie Des Dieux also still in following confirmation stage.

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Paisley Park is the star name among 18 horses still in contention for the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham on Thursday.

Emma Lavelle’s stable star is widely regarded as one of the bankers of this year’s Festival as he bids for back-to-back victories in the day three feature.

The eight-year-old is unbeaten in his last seven starts in all and is odds-on across the board to continue his winning sequence on his return to Prestbury Park.

Willie Mullins has three remaining contenders in 2018 Stayers’ hero Penhill, Bacardys and the brilliant mare Benie Des Dieux. The latter is expected to bid for a second in in Tuesday’s Mares’ Hurdle, but retains the option of taking on Paisley Park.

There are three other Irish-trained hopefuls, in Gordon Elliott’s Apple’s Jade, who is set to wear blinkers for the first time on what could be her swansong, Martin Brassil’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle winner of last season City Island, and Matthew Smith’s Ronald Pump.

Tom George looks set to saddle both Summerville Boy and The Worlds End, while Warren Greatrex has high hopes for Emitom following his impressive recent triumph at Haydock.

The Nicky Henderson-trained L’Ami Serge and West Approach from Colin Tizzard’s yard also feature.

Paisley Park on course for Stayers' Hurdle defence

Cheltenham 15:30, 12 March 2020

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