Who Will Win the Stayers Hurdle?

Who Will Win the Stayers Hurdle

Day 3 of the magnificent Cheltenham Festival sees the stamina-laden hurdlers move into the spotlight, with the latest edition of the Stayers Hurdle. Always one of the most anticipated contests of the meeting, this event boasts many mighty names on the roll of honour, with the likes of Big Buck's, Thistlecrack, and Paisley Park all storming to glory here over the years.

2022 saw a famous success for Ireland as the Gavin Cromwell-trained Flooring Porter became the first back-to-back winner since Big Buck's made it four in a row back in 2012. The defending champion is amongst the list of contenders again this year, but will he repel a field of up-and-coming staying stars?

Here we take a look at the race from a trend’s perspective using data presented by Newbettingsites.uk, highlighting the runners most likely to enter the winner's enclosure at the end of this 3m event.

Age of Winner

Stayers Hurdle age of winners

Runners falling into the 6 to 9 age bracket have dominated this event. No horse aged five or younger has landed the prize since Whim II back in 1951, whilst the most recent winner into double figures was the 11-year-old Crimson Embers in 1986. There are no runners aged five or younger in this year's line-up, but seven of the field have now moved past their tenth birthday, including Dashel Drasher, Sharjah, and the 11-year-old former winner, Paisley Park.

Those wishing to narrow the age range down a little further may wish to focus on the 6-7 group, with close to 56% of all winners falling into that bracket. Amongst those to fit the bill are the top two in the market, Blazing Khal and Teahupoo, and lively outsiders, Goshen, Saint Sam and Zanahiyr.

Trainer Trends a Little Thin on the Ground

Paul Nicholls leads the way in the all-time trainers list with 4 wins in the race – all coming courtesy of the incomparable Big Bucks. A little surprisingly, Nicholls doesn't hold an entry this year, leaving Gavin Cromwell (two wins), Willie Mullins (two wins), Charles Byrnes (1 win) and Emma Lavelle (1 Win) as the only previous winning handlers represented.

Cromwell relies on two-time champ Flooring Porter, Byrnes saddles the current favourite Blazing Khal, and Lavelle goes with 2019 winner Paisley Park. Mullins, meanwhile, is responsible for no fewer than seven of the current 25-runner field, with Sir Gerard and Klassical Dream being the two the markets rates as the most likely to prevail.

A Race No Stranger to a Shock Result

Whilst many of the major events at the festival have been kind to favourite backers over the years, the Stayers Hurdle has often proved a difficult puzzle to solve. Looking at the ten editions of the race since 2013, only two favourites have come home in front, handing jolly backers a loss of £56.25 to £10 level stakes. In contrast, the winner has returned a double-figure SP on five occasions over this period, including 50/1 shot Lisnagar Oscar who landed the prize in 2020.

Other Factors

  • Proven Class Crucial - The past ten winners had all previously won a hurdle at Grade 1 or Grade 2 level – a trend which counts against Chacun Pour Soi, Dashel Drasher, Haut En Couleurs, Langer Dan, and Saint Sam.
  • Fresh for the Big Day - Again looking at the past ten winners, all ten arrived at the race on the back of a break of at least 46 days. Beacon Edge, Goshen, Indefatigable, Sharjah, Sire Du Berlais, Zanihiyr and current favourite Blazing Khal all fall down on this stat.
  • Recent Form a Plus - Eight of the past ten winners had all finished in the first three on their most recent outing.

Summary: Tea Tops the List

Gordon Elliott is no stranger to Cheltenham Festival success but is yet to send out the winner of this race. However, the Irish handler looks to have an excellent chance of changing all that this year, as his Teahupoo looks to boast excellent claims. Tapped for toe in the Champion Hurdle here 12 months ago, this trip seems much more up his street. As a six-year-old, he fits nicely into the age trend and warmed up to this with a 15-length win in the Grade 2 Galmoy Hurdle 49 days ago. At 3/1 with BetGoodwin, he looks a solid bet.

Home By The Lee and Klassical Dream also have plenty going for them but don't make much each-way appeal at single-figure odds. For those seeking an each-way punt, our recommendation would be the Jessica Harrington-trained Ashdale Bob. Harrington is one of the best target trainers in the business, making this one look pretty interesting, with the horse showing marked improvement in each of his last three outings. The 12/1 on offer with BetGoodwin looks fair value at this stage.

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