Stayers Hurdle Tips - 3:30pm Cheltenham

First run in 1912 the Paddy Power Stayers Hurdle is the premium staying hurdle of the season with some doughty stayers including Inglis Drever, Big Bucks and Thistlecrack having won it in the past. Last year’s renewal went to 50/1 chance Lisnagar Oscar for Rebecca Curtis. They'll be racing on the new course over a distance of 7 yards short of 3 miles.

Some strong stats for the race are - winners aged between 6 and 9 years of age ten winners in last ten runnings and to have ran no more than four times since August nine times in last ten runnings.

Emma Lavelle’s stable star Paisley Park won this event in 2019 but flopped when sent off the 4/6 favourite last year. He’s bounced back to form this season with a credible second to Thyme Hill in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury on his re-appearance prior to turning the tables with that rival at Ascot in the Long Walk Hurdle three weeks later. He just got up on the line that day and there shouldn’t be much between that pair again as they head for round three this season with the score one all.

Philip Hobb’s Thyme Hill is lighter raced than Paisley Park having only had 9 career runs opposed to Paisley’s 15 runs. He was a bit unlucky when finishing fourth in the Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle at the meeting last year behind Monkfish and following his Newbury win ran a stormer in defeat with Paisley Park at Ascot. It’ll be close between them again.

Sire Du Berlais has won the last two runnings of the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle at the Festival, carrying a whopping 11-12 to victory from The Storyteller last year. Having won at Navan over 2m 4f on his re-appearance he could only finish third in the 3m Leopardstown Christmas Hurdle behind Flooring Porter and The Storyteller and has questions to answer now although we do know he loves the track.

McFabulous is a progressive hurdler trained at Ditcheat by Paul Nicholls but was safely held by both Thyme Hill and Paisley Park at Newbury in the Long Distance Hurdle appearing to all that he didn’t stay the 3 miles that day. An impressive winner of the 2m 5f Relkeel Hurdle at Kempton since he may well miss the meeting and be aimed at Aintree instead apparently.

Willie Mullins has five entered Benie Des Dieux, Great White Shark, Bacardys, Bachasson and Kemboy. The most interesting of those is the latter who was last seen winning the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown in February. Rated significantly higher over fences, he was last seen running over hurdles in April 2017 and Mullins mentioned the possibility of running him back over hurdles after Leopardstown. If he did turn up he would be an intriguing runner that’s for sure.

Gavin Cromwell is likely to run his Flooring Porter who stepped up from winning a Navan handicap hurdle easily when 22/1 to taking the grade 1 Leopardstown Christmas Hurdle over 3 miles from The Storyteller and Sire Du Berlais. The fact he had Sire Du Berlais 6 3/4 lengths behind at level weights here and can be backed at double the price seems wrong. Favourite that day but 9 1/4 lengths back in fourth was the Gigginstown Stud owned Fury Road. That was a disappointing effort but he's bounced back to form since when runner up in the Boyne Hurdle at Navan and let’s not forget that he finished just ahead of Thyme Hill in the Albert Bartlett last year and this race is his only entry at the Festival.

Last years winner Lisnagar Oscar failed to shine in two outings since, finishing 22 lengths behind Thyme Hill and Paisley Park at Newbury in November but bounced back to form when run out of it close home to finish runner up to Third Wind in the Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock and at least he goes back to defend his crown in good form.

Matthew J Smith’s Ronald Pump has met with a setback and will miss the rcae which is a real shame as he would of had a decent chance.

The French trained Paul’s Saga is a likely traveller and as one of their better staying hurdlers shouldn’t be underestimated. His trainer D Cottin is best known over here as the trainer of Cross Country sensation Easyland. He was however a bit disappointing at Warwick and will need to improve plenty to worry the principles here.

Thyme Hill and Paisley Park bring the best form to the table but there have been double figure price winners on four of the last six years so maybe Flooring Porter is worth an interest each way.

Punters Lounge Tip: Flooring Porter EW @ 16/1 at bet365 - Click Here To Bet
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