TOP staying hurdler Paisley Park will attempt to win his third straight Paddy Power Cleeve Hurdle on Saturday.
The nine-year-old is the star name among nine entries for the big race at Cheltenham Trials Day this weekend.
Emma Lavelle’s popular gelding got back to winning ways last time out in a thrilling finish with Thyme Hill in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot.
Philip Hobbs has not entered his runner this time around, but the Ascot form was boosted at the weekend when Roksana, who was third, bagged Grade 2 honours.
Lavelle said: “On paper it might not look as tough as the Long Walk, that’s true, and he’s in great order.
“What will be nice will be to go back to Cheltenham and have a nice experience after what happened at the Festival last year.
“While I’m glad there’s not going to be a massive field, I want him to have a nice experience. I certainly wouldn’t say it looks easy, though – all races at this level are difficult.
“We’ll be giving weight away, but he seems in great order and the timing of this race is absolutely perfect as we can let him down a bit after it.
“Obviously the ground looks like being testing, but we can’t do much about that.
“We’d love it if the forecast was a bit better and it wasn’t a real slog, but it is what it is. He loves racing, this horse.”
Harry Fry’s veteran Unowhatimeanharry is among Paisley Park’s potential opponents, along with the David Pipe-trained pair Ramses De Teillee and Main Fact.
Itchy Feet could return to hurdles for Olly Murphy, with Hughie Morrison’s Third Wind another potential contender.
Paisley Park is the 1-2 ante-post favourite with the sponsors Paddy Power, with Itchy Feet next best at 9-2.
Nicky Henderson’s Gold Cup runner-up Santini is among 10 entries in the Paddy Power ’45 Sleeps To Cheltenham’ Cotswold Chase, which also features on a mouthwatering card.
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