Stayers’ Hurdle Preview + Get up to 4 Places on the Race with bet365
2022 Stayers’ Hurdle Preview
The Stayers’ Hurdle is the feature race on the third day of the Cheltenham Festival and our expert has produced his analysis of the contest with includes a big race verdict. Check this out below, and if backing a runner in the race why not do so with bet365, who are providing up to 4 places on the Stayers’ Hurdle.
Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle (3:30pm, Thursday March 17)
1. Champ (Nicky Henderson, Jonjo O’Neill Jr) 5/1
From the family of triple Gold Cup winner Best Mate and he has proven himself to be a useful horse in his own right down the years, appreciating the return to hurdles when landing the Long Walk at Ascot in December; Thyme Hill behind. Beaten at prohibitive odds in the Cleeve Hurdle here subsequently, however, and whilst he has something to prove on the back of that there’s also a growing suspicion that he’s just a horse best fresh.
2. Flooring Porter (Gavin Cromwell, Danny Mullins) 7/2
Quirky sort who improved for the switch to front running last season, making the jump from handicaps to Grade 1 company in seamless fashion with a victory in the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown. Subsequently made all to land this race and although failing to complete in his next two starts he bounced back to form when chasing home Klassical Dream in the 2021 Christmas Hurdle last time out. That should set him up nicely for a Festival return and the easing ground won’t inconvenience.
3. Home By The Lee (Joseph O’Brien, J J Slevin) 40/1
Completely lost his way over fences last year but has benefitted greatly from the switch to hurdles of late, stepping up on a distant second to Darver Star when almost causing an almighty shock in the Galmoy at Gowran, finishing less than 2l off Royal Kahala despite being sent off an 80/1 shot. Meets the reopposing Royal Kahala on 3lb worse terms here, however, which suggests that a reversal is unlikely.
4. Klassical Dream (Willie Mullins, Paul Townend) 4/1
2019 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner who returned from a mammoth absence to land the Grade 1 Punchestown Stayers Hurdle last April, his first start beyond 2m2f. He made another winning reappearance in the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown but was then beaten at odds of 1/3F in the Galmoy last time when behind both Royal Kahala and Home By The Lee. That run was surely too bad to be true, however, and we know this track holds no fears, so it would be no shock to see a much-improved showing.
5. Koshari (David Christie, Jonathan Moore) 80/1
A five-time winner for Willie Mullins, the most recent of those being a 25/1 victory in a competitive handicap hurdle at the Punchestown Festival last May. His form tailed off subsequently but he seemed to improve for the switch to the David Christie yard when running out an 80/1 winner of a handicap hurdle at Aintree in November. The cheekpieces applied there are retained, but this is a whole new ballgame and he’s impossible to fancy.
6. Lisnagar Oscar (Rebecca Curtis, Adam Wedge) 40/1
Caused a huge shock when running out the 50/1 winner of this race in 2020 but he’s failed to replicate that form since. Extending his losing run to nine when third in the Cleeve Hurdle here last time out. The softer ground in prospect today will suit but he meets both Paisley Park and Champ on 6lb worse terms and it looks a big ask to expect him to get his head back in front in this company.
7. Paisley Park (Emma Lavelle, Aidan Coleman) 7/1
Exceptional stayer down the years but possibly a slight disappointment that he hasn’t managed to add to his tally of one Stayers’ Hurdle win which came back in 2019. Third in each of his first three starts this season but returned to the winner’s enclosure with aplomb here at Cheltenham last time when seeing off Champ, despite being left at the start. Claims on the back of that showing, albeit they are probably placed ones, rather than winning.
8. Song For Someone (Tom Symonds, Nico de Boinville) 50/1
Three-time Grade 2 winner back in 2020, the most recent of those successes coming in the International Hurdle over 2m1f here. No win from five subsequent outings albeit he looked a slightly unlucky loser back in the International Hurdle on penultimate start when beaten just a half-length. Not at that level dropped to Listed company at Sandown subsequently, however, and he has form/trip queries on the back of that showing.
9. Thyme Hill (Philip Hobbs, Tom O’Brien) 9/2
Third to Envoi Allen in the 2019 Champion Bumper and then finished an unlucky fourth in the Albert Bartlett a year later, where denied a clear run in the closing stages. Victory in the Stayers Hurdle at Aintree last April marked him down as the heir apparent in this division, and he bounced back from a disappointing run in France (can be forgiven that) when chasing home Champ at Ascot last time. Connections used that race as a good prep for a spring campaign last season and the same route here makes him a strong player.
10. Royal Kahala (Peter Fahey, Kevin Sexton) 9/1
Well thought of mare who was sent off the favourite for the Mares Novice at the Festival last season, only managing ninth after finishing lame. Has shown improved form this campaign, building on a reappearance second to land Graded races at Leopardstown and Gowran the last twice. Her latest Galmoy form received a boost of sorts courtesy of the third home Ashdale Bob’s run at the Festival yesterday, and she remains unexposed at the trip, but this represents a step up in class and she needs to find another jolt of improvement.
Big Race Verdict
Royal Kahala steps up in grade here but she had two of these rivals behind in last month’s Galmoy Hurdle and she’s unexposed at the trip, so dangerous to dismiss. Preference instead goes to THYME HILL, however, who marked himself down as a potential Stayers’ winner when taking the Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree last Spring. Philip Hobbs charge bombed out in France on his reappearance but looked far better when chasing home Champ at Ascot last time and with that run expected to have brought him on again he rates as the one to beat. 2019 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner Klassical Dream struggled at Gowran last time but that run looked a little too bad to be true and if he bounces back he has the form to go close.