Entries for Cheltenham’s Betbright-sponsored Gold Cup trial on Saturday may have been reopened on Tuesday, but there are no such problems for the galliardhomes.com Cleeve Hurdle which has attracted 14 entries as trainers take the last chance to give their staying hurdlers a look at the course before March.
Having initially said she would go straight to the Festival with her progressive Paisley Park after winning Ascot’s Long Walk Hurdle, Emma Lavelle has decided to give the seven-year-old another run.
“We just thought a couple of days after Ascot it was a long time between Christmas and the Festival,” she explained. “He’s so well in himself and so much can go wrong with them that we also thought we should run while we can. A bit more experience wouldn’t be a bad thing either.”
It also sees the return to hurdles for Lil Rockerfeller, runner-up in the 2017 Stayers Hurdle, and Black Op, second in last year’s Ballymore, while Middleham trainer Jedd O’Keeffe is looking for a clear round for Sam Spinner, who has unseated on both starts this season.
“His confidence was very shaken after Ascot – you could tell that from his schooling,” said the trainer. “But his last schooling session was outstanding. Apart from the Rendlesham, there are not many options for him.”