Paul Webber’s Indefatigable became the third mare in five years to win the bet365 Hurdle at Wetherby.
Registered as the West Yorkshire Hurdle, the race gives the top-class staying hurdlers an early chance to get back in action and this time it was former champion Paisley Park who attracted most of the pre-race attention.
While Emma Lavelle’s nine-year-old hit his customary flat spot going down the back straight, he did stay on over the last quarter of a mile to finish a respectable third, but the bird had flown by then.
Daryl Jacob had ridden a patient race on Indefatigable, who herself had won at the Cheltenham Festival in 2020, and took up the running at the second last.
However, Harry Skelton had stalked her into the straight on Proschema, who briefly looked to be travelling better.
Webber had sent Indefatigable to Pontefract for a race on the Flat, which she won, earlier this month, though and that fitness told as she came away to win two and three-quarter lengths with two and a half lengths back to Paisley Park.
Roksana last year and the Fergal O’Brien-trained Colin’s Sister in 2017 are the other mares to recently take the prize.
Webber said: “We thought we’d stay wide as the ground was a bit better and it suits her too. It couldn’t have worked out any better.
“It depends on the weather entirely what we do. If it was dry she could go to Newbury for the Long Distance Hurdle, but she’s a mare and I must try to win a Grade One with her.
“It will probably be too wet by the Long Walk in December and the Ascot plan might be the Ascot Stakes in June. She just needs another run to get a handicap mark.
“She does thrive in the spring and summer. You could probably do the Mares’ or the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, maybe Punchestown, then you have still got six weeks before Ascot.”
Barry Fenton, Lavelle’s partner and assistant, said of Paisley Park: “Aidan (Coleman) said that he was a little bit rusty off the back of a disappointing run last time.
“Through the race he said he didn’t feel 100 per cent and he thought, jumping the fourth last down the back, that that could be it and he might even pull him up.
“Then he said once he got a bit of clear water, he’s started to pick up and he’s run a good race then, but the race had gone.
“I think it’s looking like we’ll head for Newbury, that’s what Aidan said, he feels we should go that route and hopefully we’ll get the end result there and we can decide whether we go chasing or if we’re a stayers’ horse.
“If he comes out of this race all right and has a good prep, he’ll go to Newbury with no excuses and he’ll have to do the job there.”
Coleman said: “He was a bit rusty. On his last two runs last year he was pulled up at Aintree and had a very hard race at Cheltenham and he was remembering that a bit.
“It was looking like it was going to be a disaster turning in, but from the third last to the line he’s actually finished really strong. Those are the positives.
“He not the horse he’s been showing us at home at the moment, but I think he’ll be back with that run under his belt and a better experience he can go forward.”
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