Gemmell maps out wide-ranging campaign for Stayers' Hurdle hero Paisley Park

Andrew Gemmell wants to take his Cheltenham Festival hero Paisley Park to Punchestown this season. The owner is eyeing a tilt at the track's big spring festival for Paisley Park after he attempts a defence of his Stayers' Hurdle crown in March.

The Emma Lavelle-trained star, unbeaten in five races last season, culminating in a thrilling two-and-three-quarter-length success over Sam Spinner at Cheltenham, is on course to make his seasonal reappearance in the Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury on November 29.

Gemmell has just returned from a visit to Australia, where True Self, the Willie Mullins-trained mare in whom he has a share, landed Flemington’s Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes on Saturday under Ryan Moore. 

“It’s been an amazing time,” Gemmell said. “It’s been incredibly exciting and for me it’s been wild, it’s been really good. I’ve had very encouraging reports about Paisley Park from Emma. We’ve already mapped out his programme.

“He was always going to start at Newbury, go on to Ascot and then hopefully Cheltenham, and then we intend to go to Punchestown, as we are starting a month later than we did last year.

“I hope success continues this season for Paisley Park. I’d like him to carry on. There is no reason why he can’t."

Paisley Park, who improved with each race last season, won at Aintree, Haydock, Ascot, and Cheltenham (twice). He didn’t run again after his Stayers’ Hurdle triumph.

Gemmell has plenty to look forward to as he is part-owner of Discorama and De Rasher Counter, who could both contest Newbury’s £250,000 Ladbrokes Trophy the day after Paisley Park's race.

He said: "Discorama has another possible option and may go to the Troytown Chase at Navan. We are playing a waiting game with him due to the weather.

“He ran a very good race on his first run back behind Champagne Classic. The other horse had already run. We do need quite a lot of rain for him to come to Newbury, but De Rasher Counter will certainly be there.

“We always planned to go to the Ladbrokes Trophy with De Rasher Counter. He had a prep race at Uttoxeter over hurdles to tune him up and he seems to be in good order.”