CHAMP and Paisley Park remain on course to renew rivalry at Ascot on Saturday after featuring among seven confirmations for the Howden Long Walk Hurdle.
The pair have crossed paths on several occasions over the past 12 months, including in this Grade 1 contest last season when Champ emerged victorious and Paisley Park finished third.
Paisley Park took his revenge in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham the following month and again had the upper hand when they finished third and fourth in the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Festival in March.
Their most recent clash took place in last month’s Long Distance Hurdle, with the two 10-year-olds engaging in a pulsating battle up the Newbury straight and Nicky Henderson’s Champ clinging on by a diminishing neck.
Paisley Park won the Long Walk in 2018 and 2020 and trainer Emma Lavelle will be praying Saturday’s meeting beats the weather to give him another opportunity to strike gold in Berkshire.
Gary Moore has both the mercurial Goshen and the improving Botox Has in contention.
Goshen put a disappointing chase debut at Ascot behind him to win last month’s Coral Hurdle, while Botox Has could step up in class following a lucrative handicap success at Haydock on the same day.
The Hughie Morrison-trained Not So Sleepy would be an interesting contender stepping up to three miles for the first time after finishing third behind the brilliant Constitution Hull in the Fighting Fifth.
The potential field is completed by two mares in Paul Nicholls’ Miranda and Gordon Elliott’s possible Irish raider Queens Brook.