Emma Lavelle is understandably excited as Saturday arrives as her pride and joy Paisley Park faces his next acid test in the Grade 1 Ascot Long Walk Hurdle.
The Oscar gelding propelled the Ogbourne Maizey trainer's career to new heights when reigning supreme in the Staying division in 2018-19 and his five straight wins including the Grade 1 Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham were the major contributor to a career best prize money tally of £710,969 that season.
The omens were good for a second Stayers' Hurdle success last March on the back of wins in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury and the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham but an irregular heartbeat when 4-6 for the big day spoilt the party for what most thought was one of the bankers at the meeting.
Lavelle has patiently picked up the pieces with Paisley Park and he gave every indication he is as good as ever when running well on his comeback in the Long Distance at Newbury when beaten a length and a half by Thyme Hill who has reoppose on 3lb worse terms on Saturday.
Emma has a solid back up of several interesting prospects to go alongside the jewel of her stable and kindly spoke to Tony Elves of atthercaes.com about those she is looking forward too as the season progresses.