Alan had a winner and a second from his two selections on Friday, and he has another pair to back from Saturday's meetings at Ascot and Haydock...
"I just think Paisley Park is a tougher individual and that swings things in his favour for me."
Paisley Park can reclaim his crown
Emma Lavelle's class performer, Paisley Park, took this Grade One prize in 2018 on the way to winning the Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham the following March. Although, he was disappointing in last season's Stayers Hurdle, the 165 rated eight-year-old made an encouraging comeback when second to Thyme Hill in this year's Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury last month.
Thyme Hill got the verdict by a length-and-a-half at Newbury but this time finds himself 3lbs worse off. The other concern about him is that he tends to be given plenty of time between his races so a return just three weeks later has to be a concern in these conditions. I just think Paisley Park is a tougher individual and that swings things in his favour for me.
We shouldn't forget there are more than two runners in the field though and one of them is the 2015 winner Thistlecrack.
Colin Tizzard's highly-talented performer took the Group One staying prize, then went on to land the World Hurdle that season before switching to chasing and winning the King George at Kempton Christmas 2016. He has had his problems since then and his last race came over the smaller obstacles in the 2019 Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury. Where he was only beaten a length by today's selection Paisley Park.
Sojourn was always going to be a staying chaser
Sojourn could not have been a more impressive winner on his last outing at Carlisle, winning by 15 lengths, showing he has stamina to burn. Connections ran him just twice in novice hurdles before sending him chasing, this always looking his game. As such, he is still hugely unexposed, looking well capable of shrugging off his 11lb rise for that success and stamping his place as a staying chaser. It looks like Anthony Honeyball has a proper horse on his hands here and one with a massive future.
Hill Sixteen could be the one to chase him home. He is unbeaten since joining Nigel Twiston-Davies, who could hardly have won any easier on his debut for these connections. He won by 46 lengths in a handicap chase at Ffos Las before grinding out a handicap hurdle success from a lower mark at Newbury. He is looking to make it hat-trick of wins for his new yard but I have more concerns about him getting the trip than Sojourn.
2020 (prior to this week) : +3.64pts
This week so far...
Staked: 10 Pts
Returned: 4 pts
2020 P&L -2.36 pts
2019 P&L +0.31 pts
2018 P&L +82.29 pts
2017 P&L +53.30 pts
2016 P&L +15.23 pts