Paisley Park – from prince to king?
Races billed as “Trials” can often disappoint and to have a whole day described as Trials Day is possibly setting yourself up for a fall. But the watching crowd at Cheltenham last Saturday can have few complaints. Paisley Park (tipped here #justsayin’) absolutely romped home in the Cleeve Hurdle.
I was watching at home and just before the third last I was thinking he had no chance. But then he came alive and coming to the second last he was cruising. And he kept on after the last. I had been heartened to hear, pre race, Kevin Blake agree with me that he had won with a bit in hand in the Long Walk as I usually need one of the experts to validate my opinion.
There may be some who crab the form as, once again, West Approach was second. But that horse has run close to his best and the winner was giving him 6lbs and beat him by twelve lengths. It was run at a good pace and assuming the Stayers Hurdle is run like that then Aiden Coleman will probably hold on to his star a bit longer before unleashing that devastating turn of foot. I am easily excited by good horses but Paisley Park looks a possible superstar. He is only seven at the moment so with a fair wind he could be around for a few more seasons.
Frodon did it again. He just does not know how to surrender. Since his wind surgery he has won three from four and run three of his best four races according to his ratings. Elegant Escape was coming again at the end but he dug in and held him off.
Both horses had their prices shortened for the Gold Cup and Frodon is as low as 14/1 with Ladbrokes for the big one on 15 March. Some are doubting his stamina in what will be a fierce race pace wise and personally I think there may be better horses in the race. But we all know he will not go down without a fight.
Has improvement in him
Other Cheltenham clues included Birchdale winning the novice hurdle by eighteen lengths. His job was made much easier with the last flight fall of favourite Brewin’Upastorm. For what it’s worth I think Birchdale was going slightly the better at the time. The unbeaten Birchdale is in the betting for both the Supreme and the Ballymore with his price shorter for the latter race. He still looks like he has improvement in him.
Joseph O’Brien won the juvenile race with Fakir D’oudairies. In fact he had the first two as the winner was thirteen lengths in front of stable mate Fine Brunello. Fakir D’oudairies is now favourite for the Triumph Hurdle.