Gold Tweet (14-1) became the first French-trained winner in 18 years on Festival Trials Day when he was successful in the Grade Two Dahlbury Stallions At Chapel Stud Cleeve Hurdle, scoring by three lengths from Dashel Drasher. The last French-trained winner on today’s card was Ambobo in the 2005 running of what is now the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.
Gabriel Leenders, the winning trainer of Gold Tweet, said: “We won at Cheltenham!! It’s a dream, I’ve come back after riding for David Pipe and Nicky Henderson and I said to them I will have a runner at Cheltenham. I’ve come back and had a winner, it’s my dream and I’m very happy.
“We thought he had a good chance, he’s a very fast horse but distance is not a problem for him and his jumping suits the English hurdles. In my mind I thought he could run well and he did. It’s expensive to supplement him (for the Stayers’ Hurdle), we are not rich but I will talk with the owner and we’ll see. If it’s possible we will go and it would be a dream to come here in March.”
Winning jockey Johnny Charron added: “It wasn’t easy for me to ride as we were always in behind and pulling quite a lot, but hearing the crowd really made me want to win and push on.”
The jockey Johnny Charron remained tight lipped – doing a shush gesture - when asked if this this could be his final season.
Jeremy Scott, trainer of runner-up Dashel Drasher, said: “He has run a brilliant race and we were just outsprinted up the hill. I didn’t think they went terribly quick early on and it didn’t seem to play to Paisley Park’s strengths.
"We bumped into one that is obviously a lot better than we gave credit for before the race. We beat the horse we thought we had to beat in Paisley Park but unfortunately we just bumped into another one. I think we will come here for the Stayers’ Hurdle and have a lovely day out. If we can tweak a few things at home maybe we can get a little bit of improvement. I wouldn’t rule out going back over fences but the Ascot Chase is looking so competitive now let’s get him fresh and come back here. Let’s hope it tips it down with rain.”
Emma Lavelle, trainer of the third Paisley Park, said: “He just didn’t hit the line running. It is hard to know and I would love to be able to say this is why. He seemed fine after that and wasn’t blowing excessively or anything. He had a week less than he normally would have between the Long Walk and here. It was just an odd one as he travelled so well through the race.
"He was handier than normal because he was travelling, but it was like he didn’t get a chance to hit his flat spot on and stay on. It (the Long Walk) could have had more of an effect on him than we thought and it could be as simple as that as he had a week less to get over it. He hasn’t run terribly he just hasn’t run in the normal Paisley way as you can set your clock by him. A little bit today it was like gosh we are travelling really well then we haven’t got home. The only other time when he travelled like that was when we put headgear on him. I’d love to see the sectionals as I don’t know how quick they went but I get the feeling on how easily he was travelling they didn’t go fast enough for us. The thing about Paisley is he always throws us a curve ball to keep us on our toes. We will absolutely come back in March all being well.”