We caught up with Emma Lavelle to talk through her squad for the season ahead, including an update on superstar stayer Paisley Park.
After Cheltenham there was a lot of concern over his heart and what had happened on the day and why the real Paisley didn’t turn up. In a way it was great to find out what was wrong with him so quickly, but it was clearly quite distressing to know there was an issue. Fortunately, he righted the irregular heartbeat himself, which meant that he didn’t have to have medication for it and that makes it a bit easier to deal with. We’ve monitored it all the way through and everything seems to be great. His work has been really good.
He’s a bit fitter at this point than he was last year. The plan is to start back in the same race as last year, the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury. There are lots of youngsters snapping at his heels and hopefully he’ll keep them at his heels!
De Rasher Counter
All roads lead back to Newbury for De Rasher Counter. We did the same thing as last year to give them a prep run over hurdles. Funnily enough, his prep run over hurdles came a week earlier than last season and came at Newton Abbot rather than Uttoxeter. He ran an absolute stormer. He was beaten a length and a half and giving two-and-a-half stone to the horse that beat him, which is a fair old ask. We were delighted with him.
Highly Prized had a great summer. He’s a good ground horse who won a handicap very impressively at Southwell and just got beaten in another one at Stratford. We took a punt with him and ran him in the graded race at Kempton and just when they quickened it showed the difference between those top class two mile hurdlers and really decent handicappers. The plan with him is to go and run him in a novice chase in the spring on good ground and I think he’ll be exciting over fences.
He was deeply impressive winning his bumper last season at Kempton and the form of which has been franked many times over. The second, third and fifth have all won so now it’s up to him to go and win! He’ll be out over hurdles pretty shortly and he’s an absolute natural with his jumping. I think he’ll handle most ground, and he’s exciting.
Hang In There
The plan is to go to Ascot with him at the weekend. He just maybe lost his confidence a little bit towards the end of last season, having been so impressive winning the Grade 2 at Cheltenham. Having had a fall at Huntingdon, I think he was just a little bit on the back foot when we started back this year, so the run at Fontwell was a real confidence boost for him. He probably doesn’t truly stay at two and a half miles so we’ll drop him back to two miles from the Listed handicap at Ascot. Ideally he wants a bit of nice ground.
Manofthemountain has been an absolute star and has done nothing but improve. Hoe had won four of his last when we went to Cheltenham. Interestingly, I think he definitely wants good ground. We were all set for good ground until the heavens opened just before the race started but I think that race told us is that against lesser horses, he’s getting the three miles but when you put him into that kind of grade, he travels so strongly. I think he’s very exciting.
He’s a huge horse that’s had a lot of issues with his knees. He was very impressive when he won at Bangor and he was very impressive when he looked like he was going to win the Pertemps qualifier at Warwick. The plan is to start over fences, which he’s due to do at Chepstow and we’ll see where life takes us after that.