Tom Bellamy confirmed for former stayers’ champ Paisley Park

Jockey Tom Bellamy will get the chance to partner a champion when he gets the leg-up on 2019 Stayers’ Hurdle winner Paisley Park in Saturday’s Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot.

Bellamy, who looks on course for his best season ever in terms of winners, will step in for the suspended Aidan Coleman.

Paisley Park gave trainer Emma Lavelle the biggest win of her career to date when powering home to land the Stayers' Hurdle under Coleman, who has partnered the nine-year-old in his last 14 starts.

Coleman was handed a seven-day suspension and a £1,550 fine for overuse of the whip aboard Becher Chase winner Snow Leopardess at Aintree last Saturday.

The timing "is not ideal" according to Paisley Park's owner, Andrew Gemmell, who said: "The stewards deemed to give Aidan a week. It seems a bit stiff.

"It is not ideal, but Tom has been riding very well and Aidan's had lots of conversations with him, so I'm sure he will be fine.

"I would think that, long-term, he is still Aidan's ride, for sure."

Paisley Park will run minus the cheekpieces in the Grade 1 event, as Lavelle felt he slightly overraced when an 11-length third behind Thomas Darby in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury last month.

The trainer has been toying with the idea of going chasing with Paisley Park, although a dry autumn may have put that option on the back burner.

Gemmell said: "At the moment, I would have to say that the Stayers' Hurdle will be the plan of attack. Ascot on Saturday, then the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham, followed by the Stayers' Hurdle is the most likely route forward."

Speaking to Sky Sports Racing, Bellamy said he was "on cloud nine" after the "massive opportunity" to partner Paisley Park.

He added: "I've had a few goes on him since Aidan's news came out - I hadn't before that - I've ridden a piece of work on him and schooled him.

"He wouldn't set the world alight at home - he's a staying hurdler, of course he wouldn't. But at the same time he struts about like he's got a bit of class and he's enjoyable to ride."

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