Cheltenham 2019: Paisley Park Wins Stayers' Hurdle

Cheltenham 2019: Paisley Park Wins Stayers' Hurdle

Paisley Park brought the house down at Cheltenham on Thursday as the well-backed favourite won for his blind owner Andrew Gemmell.

Trained by Emma Lavelle, the fast-finishing star mowed down Sam Spinner and Faugheen up the Cheltenham hill to win by almost three lengths as the 11/8 favourite.

It was an emotional first Festival win for Gemmell, who has been blind since birth, but also a moving victory for jockey Aidan Coleman, who found himself remembering a friend that passed away in tragic circumstances.

"I couldn't see him being beat, but I haven't ridden winners like this," he said. "Emma said, 'look, just enjoy yourself'. There was no pressure.

"The strange thing is that the first thought when I crossed the line was my best friend Campbell Gilles, who had his best day here a few years ago. He was a great friend of mine and I just want his family to know that. He is always there in our hearts."

Campbell Gilles was a Scottish jockey who died following an accident on holiday in June 2012, just months after landing his first Festival win on Brindisi Breeze in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle.

Of Andrew Gemmell, Coleman added: "There is obviously a wonderful story behind him, but the man himself is an absolute gentleman. An pleasure to be associated with, a pleasure to deal with, and it is a privilege to be a part of achieving this for him today."

Frost Wins Ryanair On Pegasus

Bryony Frost declared Frodon 'Pegasus' as the Paul Nicholls-trained star carried her to a ballsy first Cheltenham Festival victory in the Ryanair Chase.

Together they had won three out of four this season, improving each time and building up a remarkable partnership which led to Frost's most special performance on the Cheltenham hill.

The front-runner was passed two fences out and looked beaten, but refused to give up, even when the thought crept in for Frost.

"He is Pegasus!" said Frost. 'He is the most incredible battler. That minute where he got over-taken two out, most horses would quit, but no, he grabbed me by my hands and said, 'don't you dare give up, don't you dare not send me into the last. I want this more than you. Now come on'.

"He's unbelievable. I love him. I've got lots of best friends, I'm really lucky but he and what he's doing for me and the dream that he's just made come true for me is just incredible. He's going to deserve every high-five, pat, carrot and polo. This is his day."

Trained by Paul Nicholls, Frodon beat 33/1 chance Aso and the 9/2 shot Road To Respect, with 7/2 favourite Footpad unplaced for trainer Willie Mullins.

'Open Book' Defi 6/1 For Ryanair 2020

Defi Du Seuil has been given odds of 6/1 for next year's Ryanair Chase after boldly leaping to JLT Novices' Chase victory.

It was a magnificent jump at the last that got him on terms with old foe Lostinstranslation, his bigger rival getting the rail, but not the win as Defi Du Seuil rallied under jockey Barry Geraghty to win by two and a quarter lengths.

Having won at the Triumph Hurdle aged four, the Philip Hobbs-trained star justified odds of 3/1 favourite to win at the Cheltenham Festival on Thursday, a day he could return to next season.

An emotional Hobbs said: "He's amazing. He's very, very tough and his jumping is fantastic. Sometimes these smaller horses are better at the whole thing because they are more athletic.

"It's too early to think about next season, but if we had to guess at this stage, I'd say probably the Ryanair Chase."

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First Cheltenham 2019 win for Geraghty

Barry Geraghty was riding his first winner of Cheltenham 2019, and described the six-year-old as an 'open book'.

He said: "I got in tight at the second-last so I was banking on a big one at the last and he came up trumps. We got beaten in the Dipper Novices' Chase and I wanted to do something different, so we opted to deliver him late in the Scilly Isles and it worked out then. Thankfully, it worked out today again.

"He is an open book - he definitely has got quality. We will enjoy the win, enjoy the summer and look forward to next year."

Barry Geraghty and owner JP McManus were back in the winners enclosure moments later after Sire Du Berlais also justified favouritism to win a hectic Pertemps Handicap Hurdle Final.

That victory was a 57th Cheltenham Festival win for McManus, and a 38th for Geraghty.


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