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Day three preview: Paisley Park aims for Festival success

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Cheltenham Festival
Venue: Cheltenham Racecourse Dates: 12-15 March First race: 13:30 GMT
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, plus text commentary, racecards and reports on the BBC Sport website and app.

Paisley Park will bid to give owner Andrew Gemmell and trainer Emma Lavelle an emotional win in Thursday’s Stayers’ Hurdle on day three at Cheltenham.

The seven-year-old has won all his four races this season, including Grade One successes at Ascot and Cheltenham.

Ex-local government officer Gemmell, 66, has been blind since birth.

“It crosses my mind, what it would be like to win. But if you get too wound up you are going to get a pretty nasty shock if things go wrong,” he said.

“I tend to look at it glass half-full to be honest. It’s very exciting.”

Lavelle added: “Everything has gone as well as it could possibly go. Now it’s all about just hoping we get a bit of luck in running. I’m really happy with him and we’ll see what happens.

“He looks fantastic. He’s done everything we’ve asked of him. He couldn’t go there any better than how he is at home.”

Paisley Park's owner Andrew Gemmell and jockey Aidan Coleman

Rivals include the Willie Mullins-trained veteran Faugheen who won the Champion Hurdle four years ago and will be hoping to roll back the years, and Supasundae, runner-up behind Penhill 12 months ago for Jessica Harrington.

Day three also features the Ryanair Chase (14:50 GMT) with 12 horses declared, including last year’s winner Balko Des Flos.

Willie Mullins has a strong duo with Footpad, who has had a mixed season, and the 2017 winner Un De Sceaux, who was edged out in last year’s renewal, while Noel Meade saddles the highly-rated Road To Respect.

Balko Des Flos is one of three runners for Henry de Bromhead, who also has recent Red Mills Chase winner Monalee, who will be ridden by Rachael Blackmore.

Bryony Frost partners Frodon, a horse who she describes as “my biggest chance of the week”, for Paul Nicholls.

Thursday’s card

13:30 – JLT Novices’ Chase 2m 3f 166y

14:10 – Pertemps Network Final (handicap hurdle) 2m 7f 213y

14:50 – Ryanair Steeple Chase 2m 4f 127y

15:30 – Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle 2m 7f 213y

16:10 – Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate (handicap steeple chase) 2m 4f 127y

16:50 – Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle 2m 179y

17:30 – Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Steeple Chase 3m 2f

Davy Russell led Balko Des Flos to success last year

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BBC Sport – Horse Racing

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