Emma Lavelle is set to fly the flag for British trainers at the Punchestown festival this week with stable star Paisley Park set to take on Klassical Dream and Sire Du Berlais in an intriguing Champion Stayers Hurdle on Thursday.

he 10-year-old, who is 7/1 to win on Thursday, proved he was still capable of competing at a high level when third behind Flooring Porter in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham and, for the first time, is to feature at Ireland’s biggest jumps meeting.

Lavelle’s star to face top duo

He missed Aintree with the aim of this Grade 1 contest where he will look to give his trainer a first success in Ireland. He will, however, face a strong home challenge including Aintree hero Sire Du Berlais and Klassical Dream who captured this race by a staggering nine lengths last season.

Lavelle said: “We’ve never kept him in training until this late in the season before, but he’s performing at such a great level that it just makes sense to have a go. It was a great effort from him at Cheltenham, and he seems to have come out of that well. He’s an unbelievable horse and just keeps pulling it out of the bag.”

Trainer happy to swerve Aintree

Although Paisley Park’s best performances have come at Cheltenham, he is also a Grade 1 winner going right-handed. He rallied late to capture the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot in 2020 and was third to Champ in the contest five months ago.

Lavelle added: “One of the reasons he’s going to Punchestown, as opposed to having gone to Aintree, is that the track at Aintree is just a bit sharp for him. They have a chance to get away from him there, whereas Cheltenham suits him due to the hill giving him a chance to get on terms with them. He’s been equally good at Ascot too.”

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