Paisley Park will look to emulate some greats of the staying game as he looks to defend his Stayers Hurdle crown.
The defending champion headlines 40 entries for the Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham on day three of The Festival. Emma Lavelle's horse is unbeaten in six starts since flopping at the festival as a novice in 2018.
The eight-year-old has the chance to become the fourth multiple winner of the Stayers' Hurdle this century, following Big Buck's (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012), Inglis Drever (2005, 2007, 2008) and Baracouda (2002, 2003).
Paisley Park is set to run next in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham on Festival Trials Day, 25 January, a race he won impressively in 2019.
Ireland is represented with 19 horses among the early entries, including Samcro, who looks less and less like his former self. Minella Indo and City Island, like Samcro, are both previous festival winners as novices that have run over fences this season, both have Stayers Hurdle entries.
Other high-profile entries include If The Cap Fits (Harry Fry), who relished the step up to three miles when landing the Grade One Ryanair Stayers' Hurdle at Aintree last season, and fellow Grade One scorer Champ (Nicky Henderson).
The 2019 heroine Roksana features among 36 entries for the Grade One David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle on day one of the Festival.
A formidable Irish challenge includes arguably the three most talented Jump mares in training - Apple's Jade (Gordon Elliott), the 2018 winner Benie des Dieux (Willie Mullins) and the unbeaten Honeysuckle (Henry de Bromhead). All three enjoyed Grade One glory against the geldings in 2019. Laurina is in there too.
Mullins has an incredible record in the race and has entered 10 mares as he searches for an incredible tenth win. Benie des Dieux should have made it ten last year. She is alongside stablemates Buildmeupbuttercup, Eglantine du Seuil, Elfile, Elimay, Good Thyne Tara, Great White Shark, Laurina, My Sister Sarah, and Stormy Ireland on the list.
A dark horse among the entries could be Relegate, who is now with Colm Murphy, best known as the trainer of 2006 Champion Hurdle hero Brave Inca and 2010 Queen Mother Champion Chase victor Big Zeb. She won the Cheltenham Champion Bumper in 2018.
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