EMMA LAVELLE has been no stranger to success at the Cheltenham Festival meeting but she would have to admit there is more than a hint of excitement as Paisley Park looks to put her name in lights in the Sun Racing Stayers Hurdle at Cheltenham on Thursday.
Crack Away Jack gave Emma her first Festival winner when landing the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle in 2008 and Pause And Clause added to that victory in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockey Handicap Hurdle two years later but there are higher stakes to play for this time around with her much improved seven-year-old Oscar gelding reaching for the stars in the Grade 1 event.
Paisley Park has carried all before him in the Staying Hurdling division this season and gave the Ogbourne Maizey trainer a first Grade 1 success in the JLT Hurdle (Long Walk Hurdle) at Ascot in December when beating West Approach two lengths and the differential between the pair had risen to 12 lengths when they clashed in the Grade 2 Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham in January.
Emma said: “It would be lovely if we could win the Stayers with him and it’s fingers crossed. That’s what we are all working for but whatever the outcome we have had a really good season and he has obviously done us proud.”
Lavelle matched 28 winners of last season when Fontsanta won at Hereford on Saturday and she has already sailed well past her prize money total of 2017-18 with over £437,000 in the bag so far.
With £325,000 in the kitty for the Stayers, it could well be a week to remember for Emma and, on the eve of Cheltenham, she kindly spoke to Tony Elves of attheraces.com about her hopes for Paisley Park, Flemcara in the Pertemps Final and others from her Bonita Racing Stables.