Cheltenham Stayers Hurdle Preview


Paisley Park - Stayers Hurdle


The high-quality jumping action continues on St. Patricks Thursday at the Cheltenham Festival, with Day 3 serving up another trio of Grade 1 contests for our punting pleasure. The Turners Chase and Ryanair Chase have plenty to recommend them, but the traditional highlight of the day is the Stayers Hurdle, which sees the best of the stamina-laden performers locking horns over three miles.

Barring the Champion Hurdle, none of the week's major events looks easy to call on paper, but possibly the toughest to predict of all is this event. Here we take a look at the likely contenders for glory in one of the most wide-open Grade 1 contests of the meeting.

All prices quoted are with William Hill

Former Champions Back For More: Flooring Porter 6/1 & Paisley Park 14/1

This race is no stranger to a repeat winner, and this year we have two former champs in the field. Of that duo, the most likely to have his name up in lights once more is the Gavin Cromwell-trained Flooring Porter. Successful in 2021 and 2022, if he wins again this year, he will join the legendary Big Bucks as the only horse to land three consecutive editions. He has been beaten in his two prep races, but that was also the case 12 months ago, and it didn’t stop him from roaring to a 2¾l success.

It was back in 2019 that the Emma Lavelle trained Paisley Park bagged this prize. He has tried and failed to reclaim the title three times since, but if judged on the best of his efforts this season, he may not be done with quite yet. Too good for the field in the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle at Kempton in December, he may not be far away if in the same sort of form here.

New Contenders in the Mix: Blazing Khal 3/1 & Teahupoo 4/1

The Charles Byrnes-trained Blazing Khal hasn’t enjoyed the most conventional of preparations, having run just once in the previous 460 days. However, that hasn’t prevented the seven-year-old from making his way to the top of the market. Now a perfect four from four over hurdles, his comeback win in the Grade 2 Boyne Hurdle at Navan was an impressive effort following such a prolonged absence from the track. A course and distance winner here back in December of 2021, this classy operator looks to boast strong claims.

In what looks like a strong race for the Irish, another runner not to be underestimated is the Gordon Elliott representative Teahupoo. A talented performer over 2m, with wins at Grade 2 and Grade 3 level, the son of Masked Marvel nevertheless proved just shy of top class over the minimum trip. However, it seems that stamina may be his forte. Stepped up to 2m3½f for the first time in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle, he promptly bagged the first Grade 1 of his career. Pushed out further to 3m½f last time out at Gowran Park, he thrust his hat firmly into the ring for this with a resounding 15-length romp. A soft ground lover, his chance increases with every drop of rain that falls.

Others to Consider

Nicky Henderson’s Marie’s Rock (4/1 BetUK) would rate an interesting contender if taking up this assignment ahead of a defence of her Mares Hurdle crown. The trip provides a slight question mark, but this mare possesses a potent turn of foot and would receive a useful 7lb from the boys.

Or how about a win for the French? Gabriel Leenders’ Gold Tweet (14/1 William Hill) caused a shock when travelling over to land the Cleeve Hurdle at this track in January – with Paisley Park amongst those in behind. There didn’t look to be any fluke about that display as he travelled smoothly unto contention before pulling clear after the last. Likely to be supplemented for the race, he may hand our Gallic cousins a first success in the race since Baracouda in 2003.

Race Prediction

  • 1st - Blazing Khal
  • 2nd - Marie’s Rock
  • 3rd - Flooring Porter

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