2018 Stayers Hurdle Trends and Free Tips

Stayers Hurdle Trends

Billed as the feature race on the third day (Thursday) of the Cheltenham Festival, the Stayers’ Hurdle (formerly the World Hurdle) is run over a distance of 3m with 12 hurdles to jump and will be sponsored for the second year running by SunBets.

The present format of the contest was first run in 1972, and after being known as the Ladbrokes World Hurdle from 2005 the race returned to it’s original name – the Stayers’ Hurdle – in 2017.

In recent years, the contest has been dominated by previous winners of the race with the French-trained, Baracouda, landing the prize twice, the gutsy Inglis Drever winning three times, while the Paul Nicholls-trained Big Buck’s took the honours four times on the bounce between 2009-2012.

In 2016 we saw the classy Thistlecrack romp to victory, but with that horse now heading for the Cheltenham Gold Cup it paved the way for a new champion in 2017 and that horse was the Willie Mullins-trained Nichols Canyon, who beat Lil Rockerfeller and Unowhatimeanharry into second and third.

However, this horse sadly suffered a fatal fall over Christmas at Leopardstown so once again we will be looking at a new champion of the race.

Billed as the feature race on the third day (Thursday) of the Cheltenham Festival, the Stayers’ Hurdle (formerly the World Hurdle) is run over a distance of 3m with 12 hurdles to jump and will be sponsored for the second year running by SunBets.

The present format of the contest was first run in 1972, and after being known as the Ladbrokes World Hurdle from 2005 the race returned to it’s original name – the Stayers’ Hurdle – in 2017.

In recent years, the contest has been dominated by previous winners of the race with the French-trained, Baracouda, landing the prize twice, the gutsy Inglis Drever winning three times, while the Paul Nicholls-trained Big Buck’s took the honours four times on the bounce between 2009-2012.

In 2016 we saw the classy Thistlecrack romp to victory, but with that horse now heading for the Cheltenham Gold Cup it paved the way for a new champion in 2017 and that horse was the Willie Mullins-trained Nichols Canyon, who beat Lil Rockerfeller and Unowhatimeanharry into second and third.

However, this horse sadly suffered a fatal fall over Christmas at Leopardstown so once again we will be looking at a new champion of the race.

At this stage the improving Sam Spinner, who was a gutsy winner of the Long Walk Hurdle in December. That Ascot race is often a good guide ahead of the Stayers’ Hurdle so everything looks in place for this Jedd O’Keefe-trained runner to go well.

Here at JUICESTORM we look back at recent Stayers’ Hurdle winners and give you the key stats to take into the 2018 renewal – this year run on 15th March 2017.

Recent Stayers’ Hurdle Winners

2017 – NICHOLS CANYON (10/1)
2016 – THISTLECRACK (Evs)
2015 – COLE HARDEN (14/1)
2014 – MORE OF THAT (15/2)
2013 – SOLWHIT (17/2)
2012 – BIG BUCK’S (5/6 fav)
2011 – BIG BUCK’S (10/11 fav)
2010 – BIG BUCK’S (5/6 fav)
2009 – BIG BUCK’S (6/1)
2008 – INGLIS DREVER (11/8 fav)
2007 – INGLIS DREVER (5/1)
2006 – MY WAY de SOLZEN (8/1)
2005 – INGLIS DREVER (5/1)
2004 – IRIS’S GIFT (9/2)
2003 – BARACOUDA (9/4 fav)

Stayers’ Hurdle Betting Trends

13/15 – Returned 8/1 or shorter in the betting
13/15 – Finished 1st or 2nd last time out
14/15 – Had raced within the last 10 weeks
12/15 – Came from the top 3 in the betting
12/15 – Had won over at least 3m (hurdles) before
12/15 – Went onto run at the Aintree Grand National Meeting later that season
12/15 – Aged 8 or younger
12/15 – Placed favourites
11/15 – Winning distance – 2 1/2 lengths or less
10/15 – Had won over hurdles at Cheltenham before
10/15 – Won their latest race
11/15 – Had raced that calendar year
9/15 – Rated 163 or higher
9/15 – Contested either the Cleeve Hurdle (6) or the Long Walk Hurdle (3) last time out
7/15 – French-bred
7/15 – Went onto win at Aintree later that season
6/15 – Winning favourite
4/15 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
5/15 – Ridden by Ruby Walsh
2/15 – Irish-trained winners
The average winning SP in the last 15 runnings is 5/1

Stayers’ Hurdle Stats:
Every winner since 1972 has been aged 6 or older
Since 1972 there have been 7 previous winners of the race
Horses that ran at the previous season’s Cheltenham Festival are 19 from 23
Horses that were placed fourth or better last time out have won 29 of the last 30 renewals
The top five in the betting have finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in 7 of the last 14 renewals
Just two Irish-trained winners since 1996 – Solwhit (2013), Nichols Canyon (2017)
All of the last 30 winners were aged 9 or younger
16/20 – British-trained winners
2/20 – French-trained winners
2/20 – Irish-trained winners
Willie Mullins (Ire) has trained just 1 winner of the race (2017, Nichols Canyon)
Nicky Henderson (UK) has trained just 1 winner of the race (2000, Bacchanal)
Paul Nicholls (UK) has trained 4 of the last 9 winners
Jonjo O’Neill (UK has trained 2 of the last 14 winners
Ruby Walsh has ridden 5 of the last 9 winners

 

Of the four Championship races this is the only one that we’ll unfortunately not get a chance see last year’s winner defend its title. Sadly, Nichols Canyon, who would have again been a huge player here, suffered a fatal fall at Leopardstown back in December.

So, who’s going to be the new champ this year?

For much of the build-up, the new kid on the block in the staying hurdle division – Sam Spinner – topped the market. This rapidly-improving 6 year-old has won five of his 7 starts over hurdles and was a 2 ¾ length winner of the Long Walk Hurdle – a decent trial for this – at Ascot back in December.

He’s done little wrong and beat a decent field that day that also consisted of last year’s second and third in this race – Lil Rockerfeller and Unowhatimeanharry. With the expected improvement there should be even more to come from this 5 year-old and he looks set to run a big race, especially if the ground came up soft. However, having never raced at Cheltenham is a bit of a negative for me. Yes, there is no real reason to think the track won’t suit, but with all of his main rivals having proven form here then at least we can rule that doubt about when looking at their chance.

The horse that overtook him at the head of the market was last year’s Coral Cup winner – SUPASUNDAE, and, for me, it’s easy to see why. This 8 year-old was last seen winning the Irish Champion Hurdle over an inadequate 2m trip, but really this horse is a stayer. He ran the classy Apple’s Jade to ½ a length over 3m over Christmas and was giving that mare 7lbs too, while the way he won last time suggests he’s heading into the Festival in peak form.

I agree that his price is a bit on the skinny side, especially as there is quite a lot of opposition in the race, but he’s clearly a better horse than the one we saw powering up the hill to win the Coral Cup last March. If the ground came up really soft on the day that would be a concern as despite running close over 3m, he’s yet to win over this trip and that ground would really test his stamina. I still think he’s the one to beat.

Yanworth was a nice addition to the race after he reverts back to hurdles. He did okay over fences, but didn’t really hit the heights expected of him over the bigger obstacles and it looks to be a shrewd move from the Alan King yard. He’s a horse that beat Supasundae at Aintree last April so certainly has the class to take this, plus is another proven course winner at Cheltenham. Yes, his Festival record might put you off him (0-from-3), but he’s still won here twice (1 hurdles, 1 fences), while the King yard also took this in 2006 with My Way de Solzen.

Outside the top three in the market there are options for those seeking better value. Last season’s Albert Barlett Novices’ winner – Penhill – would be a player for the Mullins camp that took this race last year. Yes, he’s not been seen since last April so you’d have to take his fitness on trust, but he’s a horse that has gone well fresh in the past and won at the Festival last season after having 3 ½ months off.

The New One, who landed the 2013 Neptune, probably deserves to win another Festival race and for many years people have been crying out for him to run in the Stayers’ – they finally get their wish. He’s another you can make a case for, but, for me – although I’d love to see him collect at the age of 10 – he might just get found out by some younger legs.

The same applies to last year’s short-priced favourite – Unowhatimeanharry, who is also 10 and seems to have lost his way this season. He’s also held by Sam Spinner this season on that Long Walk form and probably had his chance 12 months ago.

The powerful owners of Simon Munir and Isaac Souede could have two live outside chances though. Their Wholestone rarely runs a bad race at Cheltenham and was a decent third in the Albert Bartlett last season. Plus, they also have the ultra-consistent L’AMI SERGE (e/w). This 8 year-old is hard to win with these days, but he also rarely finishes out of the frame. He was last seen running a close third over fences, while the time before was second in the Long Walk Hurdle behind Sam Spinner. His overall record over hurdles reads an impressive 17 top three finishes from 20 starts – meaning he’s got an 85% strike-rate of finishing in the top three – not bad!

He was also a close second in the County Hurdle at last season’s Festival. Add in a third in the 2016 JLT Novices’ Chase and a fourth in Douvan’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle back in 2015 then he’s become a Festival regular that is never far away in his races at this meeting.

With that in-mind he looks a solid alternative to Supasundae for those looking to play this race differently. Yes, with only two wins from his last 15 runs he often finds one or two too good, but he’s also a horse you know will be thereabouts and that’s a big plus if you are punting him to be in the shake-up.

 

Watch the 2017 Stayers’ Hurdle again here………………………………

 

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