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Cheltenham Festival: Danny Mullins rides Flooring Porter to Stayers’ Hurdle glory as Paisley Park struggles

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But Jonathan Moore, who had suffered a nasty fall on Sunday, pulled out of the ride when grimacing in pain in the saddle early on Thursday morning.

Moore recommended Mullins for the ride and the Irish jockey, who had finished runner-up at the Cheltenham Festival on five occasions, duly delivered his first race victory on the third day.

Paisley Park, a winner in 2019 but out of sorts with a heart issue and two lost shoes last year, was the overwhelming favourite. But the horse named after the singer Prince’s Minnesota home by blind owner Andrew Gemmell, did not show the sort of form that had earned nine wins from 15 starts.

Aidan Coleman pushed Paisley Park from three hurdles out but Flooring Porter, owned by a syndicate involving publicans and a carpet business, floored the rest of the field with a turn of pace to leave his rivals in the shade.

After the win, Mullins said: “He’s a proper good horse so a simple job. It’s fantastic – to win a Grade 1 as well. I rode a very good horse today.”

Moore was given the honour of leading the horse into the winner’s enclosure and paid tribute to horse and stand-in jockey alike.

“I’m delighted for the horse,” said Moore. “I knew Leopardstown was no fluke. It’s great for the team. He’s been a great horse. I’m so proud for the horse. I know this lad has a massive engine. I rode out this morning and I wasn’t able to stand so I said put Danny Mullins on the horse.”

There had been indications that Flooring Porter would be in contention at 12-1 after an impressive win in the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown 80 days ago, but this was a step-up in class for trainer Gavin Cromwell.

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