Stayers' Hurdle Result: Lisnagar causes almighty shock

Returning at 50/1, Lisnagar Oscar was the biggest-priced winner of the Stayers' Hurdle in history.
Returning at 50/1, Lisnagar Oscar was the biggest-priced winner of the Stayers' Hurdle in history.

Lisnagar Oscar caused the shock of the meeting in Thursday’s Stayers’ Hurdle, making the best of his way home to record a 50/1 upset, with the odds-on favourite Paisley Park only managing to finish seventh. 

It seemed inconceivable that the defending champion Paisley Park could be toppled coming into the race, but the writing looked to be on the wall from some way out for the odds-on favourite, and it was the Rebecca Curtis-trained Lisnagar Oscar who made the best of his way home to cause a 50/1 shock - becoming the biggest-priced winner of this race in history in the process. 

The race wasn’t without drama, either, and the Irish raider Apple’s Jade set a blistering pace under champion jockey Richard Johnson, pulling around 20 lengths clear of the field. 

Eventually, the mare came back to her pursuers, and while Paisley Park struggled to hit top gear, several threw their hat into the ring, with several bunched together approaching the second flight from home. Lisnagar Oscar soon pounced, and under Adam Wedge he stole the initiative to slip several lengths clear of the field, before holding off the late attentions of the Irish raider Ronald Pump to record a two-length success.

It was Curtis’ first Festival triumph since striking in the novices’ handicap chase with Irish Cavalier in 2015, and she admitted she was pleasantly surprised by the result. She said: “I didn't think he would beat Paisley Park, but I thought he'd get placed. To see him improve that much - I'm just delighted. I was thinking, 'don't get caught, don't get caught.’

"He ran a blinder on his last run and I am not sure whatever happened to him at the beginning of the season. We did find a few ulcers and things, so we treated him for that and he was so well at home. I thought 50/1 was a massive price.

"Adam is what I call such a solid, solid jockey. I am delighted for him to get his first Festival winner. He has given the horse a brilliant ride.” 

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Wedge is enjoying a good season, and he was delighted to add to his Grade 1 tally, having sealed his first top level success with Espirit Du Large in the Henry VIII Novices' Chase at Sandown in December.

He said: "Apple's Jade went off very hard and for the first circuit I was a bit cold, but Becky had done a fantastic job and when he came alive I was able to fill all the way down the hill. After the last I just had to hope he'd keep galloping, and he did.

"He's worn his heart on his sleeve and tried his heart out. He was all out, but he's done very well. He's not very big, but he was fantastic.

"I've just got very good people supporting me in Evan (Williams, trainer of Esprit Du Large), Emma (Lavelle, who saddled the disappointing favourite Paisley Park) and of course Becky (Curtis), who has a small team but does very, very well. They are just great people."

Meanwhile, Emma Lavelle was philosophical about her stable star’s disappointing performance; "It's obviously disappointing, but it's just one of those things. They are not machines and can't tell you if they are not feeling it for a day for any reason.

"Paisley Park's such a gorgeous horse and it's just a shame. Of course we are disappointed, but it is just onwards and upwards for us. He seems absolutely fine and he probably didn't just travel with the same zest at any stage.

"We'll get him home and just take stock.”

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