Stayers’ Hurdle Betting Tips and Offers
Stayers’ Hurdle Preview: Tips, Betting Offers and Odds
The Cheltenham Festival rolls on to day three and the big staying hurdle of the year. Read on for the best odds and offers, as well as our betting tips for the Stayers’ Hurdle.
The season’s premier hurdle for those runners boasting stamina as their forte, takes centre stage on day three at the Cheltenham Festival. Now over a century old, having been first run in 1912, this Grade 1, three mile contest sees the contenders tackle 12 hurdles around the New Course, in pursuit of over £295,000 in total prize money.
Stayers’ Hurdle Tips and 2020 Race Preview
The Stayers’ Hurdle features a horse who many believe is the most reliable favourite of this year’s Cheltenham. Paisley Park is the king of the staying hurdle division and showed just what he is all about when landing this prize last year. 12 months on and Emma Lavelle’s charge is looking every bit as strong thanks to wins in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury and the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham.
It would be a major shock if Paisley Park were to get beaten but we saw how easily things can go against the favourite at Cheltenham with Honeysuckle’s win over Benie Des Dieux so it pays to have an outsider on board. A bet on Apple’s Jade looks particularly appealing with Ladbrokes going 20/1 about her chances of making her 7lb mares’ allowance count.
- 2019 – Paisley Park – jockey Aidan Coleman, trainer Emma Lavelle
- 2018 – Penhill – jockey Paul Townend, trainer Willie Mullins
- 2017 – Nichols Canyon – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Willie Mullins
- 2016 – Thistlecrack – jockey Tom Scudamore, trainer Colin Tizzard
- 2015 – Cole Harden – jockey Gavin Sheehan, trainer Warren Greatrex
- 2014 – More Of That – jockey Barry Geraghty, trainer Jonjo O’Neill
- 2013 – Solwhit – jockey Paul Carberry, trainer Charles Byrnes
- 2012 – Big Buck’s – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Paul Nicholls
- 2011 – Big Buck’s – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Paul Nicholls
- 2010 – Big Buck’s – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Paul Nicholls
- 2009 – Big Buck’s – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Paul Nicholls
- 2008 – Inglis Drever – jockey Denis O’Regan, trainer Howard Johnson
- 2007 – Inglis Drever – jockey Paddy Brennan, trainer Howard Johnson
- 2006 – My Way de Solzen – jockey Robert Thornton, trainer Alan King
Stayers’ Hurdle Trends
The general school of thought about the Stayers’ Hurdle is that it is a race for specialists. It’s certainly true that it takes a special performance to cope with the pace that the 3m race is run at but horses can take all manner of different routes into Thursday’s championship race.
Some horses are genuine specialist long distance hurdlers, others are making the step up in trip whilst yet more horses are being reverted to hurdles having gone chasing. Whether over hurdles or fences most recent winners of the Stayers’ Hurdle share winning form over a 3 miles or longer.
The different routes taken by Stayers’ Hurdle contenders extends to the amount of action they’ve in the season leading up to Cheltenham. The vast majority of recent winners had run within 10 weeks of the race but Penhill won the 2018 edition on his first racecourse appearance for almost a year.
That was a rare occurrence though as there are some key trials to keep an eye on for the Stayers’ Hurdle. The first is the Cleeve Hurdle which is also held at Cheltenham and the second is the Long Walk Hurdle held at Ascot just before Christmas.
Trials Value Inconclusive
As already noted, the picture regarding trials is less clear because of the different types of horses who compete but connections have no problem with their horses making a home in the staying hurdle division once they’ve proved they can hack it at the top level. A number of horses have won the Stayers’ Hurdle multiple times since the turn of the 21st century including the remarkable Big Buck’s who won it four years in a row.
Those consecutive wins for Big Buck’s have had an impact on the average winning price for this race and it’s interesting to note that since his final win in 2012 winning favourites have been much rarer.
Stayers’ Hurdle History
This contest has certainly come a long way from its humble beginnings as a selling contest, worth just £100 to the winner back in 1912. Such was its lowly status, it was twice dropped altogether from the festival offering, being absent between the years of 1928-29 and 1939-45. The race returned in 1946 under the guise of the existing Spa Hurdle which saw its previous two mile trip increased to the three miles of this event. The advent of sponsorship in 1972 saw the race renamed the Stayers’ Hurdle. This title stuck until 2005 when Ladbrokes took over sponsorship of the event and introduced the World Hurdle banner.
The race was moved to its Thursday slot in 1993 and began to firmly establish itself as one of the true championship events of the week. Dorans Pride was a hugely popular winner for Ireland in 1995 before the race entered its golden age just after the turn of the century.
First came a touch of class with the French trained Baracouda. Francois Doumen’s star stayer was a cheeky neck winner in 2002 before edging out Iris’s Gift in a real thriller in 2003. Iris’s Gift didn’t have to wait long for his revenge, turning the tables on Baracouda when coming out on top in 2004.
Baracouda was made to settle for second once again in 2005, this time tasting defeat at the hands of Howard Johnson’s Inglis Drever. But for missing the 2006 race due to injury, Inglis Drever may well have won this race four times in a row. Returning to health in 2007 he returned to reclaim his crown as the king of the stayers. 2008 was the year this gelding by In The Wings entered the history books by becoming the first horse to win this event three times. However it didn’t take long for this record to be broken.
2009 saw the dawn of a four year period of domination by one of the greatest stayers to ever take to the track. It wasn’t only here that Big Buck’s proved unstoppable. His first win in this race was just the third of an incredible 18 race unbeaten run encompassing his four wins in this event and a further six at Grade 1 level.
Big Buck’s exploits were enough to propel himself, Ruby Walsh, Paul Nicholls and the Stewart family to the top of the all-time most successful horse, jockey, trainer and owners lists for this race. Ruby Walsh was back to winning ways in 2017 on the back of Willie Mullins’ Nichols Canyon. In 2016 a new star was born in the form of Colin Tizzard’s Thistlecrack: he won in supreme style.
Open to horses aged four and older, it has been a long time since one so young prevailed, 1934 winner Fobdawn being the most recent. We have to travel even further back in time in order to find the races oldest ever winner, namely Zarane back in 1927. This contest seems to have evolved into an event for the younger runners, between 1987 and 2015 no horse older than nine years old came home in front.