Trainer Emma Lavelle says she cannot wait for the Cheltenham Festival as stable star Paisley Park bids to regain his Stayers’ Hurdle crown later this month (Paisley Park 3/1 to win).

The nine-year-old won the race for the first time in 2019, catapulting him to being one of the leading candidates in that division.

However, Lavelle’s plans for him were turned upside down when he finished seventh in the same race in 2020, with post-race scans showing he was struggling with a heart problem.

After a 260-day break, the fan favourite finished second in November’s Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury, with Thyme Hill getting the better of him on that occasion.

Paisley Park gained revenge over his old foe a month later by a neck when winning the Long Walk at Ascot and the pair will renew their rivalry in less than two weeks time.

Lavelle says her charge is flying at home and says there is little to suggest he won’t produce another big showing at Prestbury Park.

Lavelle said: “Everything is absolutely great – I wish it was next week.

“We just want to try and keep everything right. I’m really, really happy with him.”

Lavelle’s stable star purposely missed the Cleeve Hurdle at Wetherby at the start of February, with the soft ground an area of concern for connections.

Philip Hobbs’ Thyme Hill is priced at 10/3 to win at Prestbury Park in what looks a hugely competitive field.

Dan Skelton’s Roksana and Sire Du Berlais are both 8/1 to win the Stayers’ Hurdle, while Willie Mullins is set to run 12/1 Kemboy and 25/1 Bachasson.

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