2021 Stayers' Hurdle Guide

Cheltenham - March 18 2021
Cheltenham 15:05
9
Aidan Coleman

Paisley Park

J:
 
Aidan Coleman
T:
 
Emma Lavelle
Age: 9
Weight: 11-10
OR: 165
Days: -23

Ascended to the throne of King of the stayers two years ago when following up an emphatic win in the Cleeve hurdle with an impressive performance in the Stayers’ Hurdle. 

He looked to be on to defending his crown with ease last year when a minor heart issue saw him tail off back into seventh. 

He was beaten on seasonal reappearance on his first duel with Thyme Hill.

Giving 3lbs away on a more conventional track asked a little too much of Paisley. But off level weights re-opposing at Ascot in the Long Walk, Emma Lavelle’s stable star took his revenge. 

Staying on from the back of the last he just collared his rival in the shadows of the post. 

Cheltenham suits his racing style and he tends to come flying up the stiff uphill finish. 

If filly fit he looks set to have a good chance of regaining his Stayers’ Hurdle crown. 

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
28/01/23CHL24Sft11-83
26/12/22KEM24.5Sft11-71
25/11/22NBY24Gd11-82
28/04/22PUN23.5Gd/Y11-105
17/03/22CHL24Sft11-103
Cheltenham - March 18 2021
Cheltenham 15:05
12
Mark Walsh

Sire Du Berlais

J:
 
Mark Walsh
T:
 
Mrs Denise Foster
Age: 9
Weight: 11-10
OR: 160

A quirky sort for Denise Foster, Sire Du Berlais has laid down a solid claim for this race by winning the last two Pertemps Network finals. 

The handicap takes place over the same track and trip as the Stayers Hurdle and last year saw him and Barry Geraghty carry top weight to victory to deny The Storyteller. 

He reappeared this season to claim Grade Two honours over 2.5 miles. The trip seemingly too sharp he made his class tell to hold off French Dynamite. 

Last seen in the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown, he was seemingly caught too far off the pace set by Flooring Porter and only managed to run on into third. 

He has a tremendous course record and is clearly better than a handicapper. Giving 3lbs and a beating to The Storyteller last year looks some really smart form and he’s certainly got place credentials. 

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
28/12/22LEO24Sft11-10PU
04/12/22FAI19.5Sft11-105
13/11/22NAV20Y11-125
28/04/22PUN23.5Gd/Y11-104
09/04/22AIN24.5GS11-71
Cheltenham - March 18 2021
Cheltenham 15:05
3
Danny Mullins

Flooring Porter

J:
 
Danny Mullins
T:
 
Gavin Cromwell
Age: 6
Weight: 11-10
OR: 160
Days: -42

A graduate from handicaps for Gavin Cromwell, Flooring Porter signed off his handicap exploits with a dominant front running display at Navan. 

He beat Pertemps final favourite The Bosses Oscar by 12 lengths giving him 1lb and showed just how big his engine was. 

He took the plunge into Grade One company on his last run in the Christmas hurdle and caught the field out with his extravagant front running style. 

Bouncing out, making all he beat The Storyteller by six lengths. 

Some impressive form on paper, it remains to be seen if he can replicate that kind of performance. 

He might struggle to dictate things in this deep Grade One and could tee up a really strong stayer to nab him late on.  Might find one or two too good to get involved in the finish. 

Cheltenham - March 18 2021
Cheltenham 15:05
14
David Bass

Vinndication

J:
 
David Bass
T:
 
Kim Bailey
Age: 8
Weight: 11-10
OR: 155
Days: -23

A big runner in last years’ Ultima, the eight year old for Kim Bailey was a really classy three mile chaser last season. 

Back in his novice hurdle campaign he was unbeaten over timber and even notched up a tight victory over Champ. 

The plan seemingly to always go chasing he won his first two outings before bumping into Defi Du Seuil in the Scilly Isles and the JLT. 

Upped in trip to three miles last season unlocked more potential and he looked a thorough stayer over three miles. 
Returning to fences this season in the Charlie Hall chase he was unlucky to bump into an on form Cyrname who blew him away easily despite going left handed.

We last saw Vinndication in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury where despite being sent off favourite, his jumping fell apart. A blunder was followed up by a worse mistake which saw him part company with David Bass. 

Trying to reinvigorate some confidence in him, dropping to hurdles seems like a good option and three miles clearly holds no fear for him. 

While unbeaten over hurdles, he might find a few too good. Not without hope to hit the frame if his class transfers to the smaller obstacles. 

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
10/04/21AIN24.5GS11-712
18/03/21CHL24GS11-106
28/11/20NBY26Gd11-11UR
31/10/20WET24Sft11-42
10/03/20CHL25Sft11-124
Cheltenham - March 18 2021
Cheltenham 15:05
7
Harry Skelton

Lisnagar Oscar

J:
 
Harry Skelton
T:
 
Rebecca Curtis
Age: 8
Weight: 11-10
OR: 159
Days: -23

Rebecca Curtis tasted her biggest victory as a trainer when eight year old Lisnagar Oscar shocked the racing world when scoring this contest last year at a massive 50/1. 

Always shaping like a strong stayer, he failed to make waves as a chaser so had to revert back to hurdles. 

It seemingly took him a few runs to get his confidence back over timber but ran a fine race in the Cleeve on trials day behind Paisley Park. 

This season his form reads a less than inspiring 472. His best run coming when last seen at Haydock in a Grade Two behind Third Wind.

He only went down by three quarters of a length and looked to be back to his best. Giving 6lbs away to a smart rival just got the better of him. 

It wouldn’t be wise to write off last year's winner. He’s a large price having not dazzled this season but he’s certainly got place credentials if running as well as he did in 2020.

Keep him on the shortlist. 

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
13/04/22CHL24Gd11-9PU
17/03/22CHL24Sft11-10PU
29/01/22CHL24Gd11-03
18/12/21ASC24.5GS11-7PU
26/11/21NBY24GS11-05
Cheltenham - March 18 2021
Cheltenham 15:05
13
Keith Donoghue

The Storyteller

J:
 
Keith Donoghue
T:
 
Mrs Denise Foster
Age: 10
Weight: 11-10
OR: 156
Days: -42

The now 10 year old has been the model of consistency recently for connections. 

Mixing it over both hurdles and fences, The Storyteller has picked up Grade Three and Grade One wins over fences this campaign. 

Second in last year's Pertemps final to Sire Du Berlais he hinted that a tilt at the Stayers hurdle could yield results. 
He’s officially 10lbs better over fences than he is over hurdles but he’s clearly very classy and hasn’t started to decline yet despite turning 10. 

Last seen finishing second in the Irish Gold Cup at the Dublin Racing Festival, it’s worth noting that this is his only entry for the Cheltenham Festival. 

If running close to his second in the Pertemps he still might find a few too good to get involved. He’s certainly better over fences than hurdles. 

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
26/12/22DRO24Sft12-07
19/09/21LIS20Gd/Y11-7PU
29/04/21PUN24Y11-127
18/03/21CHL24GS11-105
07/02/21LEO24.5Sft11-122
Cheltenham - March 18 2021
Cheltenham 15:05
4
Jack Kennedy

Fury Road

J:
 
Jack Kennedy
T:
 
Mrs Denise Foster
Age: 7
Weight: 11-10
OR: 156
Days: -42

A Grade Two winning novice hurdler for Cullentra house last season, Fury Road rounded out his novice campaign in the Albert Bartlett at the festival. 

He was just held behind Monkfish and was 3rd by only a neck. One of the strongest races of the festival it certainly earmarked him for greatness. 

Moving into open company this year he mopped up a Grade Two on return. Sent off favourite for the Christmas Hurdle he’s yet another in this list caught out by Flooring Porter’s front running antics. 

Last seen in the Boyne Hurdle he was collared on the line by faster finishing owner-mate Beacon Edge. 

Judging by his impressive showing in the Albert Bartlett he could still have some untapped potential at the trip. Outpaced last time out he could be seen to better effect now back up to three miles. 

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
04/02/23LEO24Y11-103
28/12/22LEO24Sft11-103
05/11/22DRO19.5Y12-01
26/04/22PUN24.5Gd/Y11-103
08/04/22AIN25GS11-42
Cheltenham - March 18 2021
Cheltenham 15:05
5
Daryl Jacob

If The Cap Fits

J:
 
Daryl Jacob
T:
 
Harry Fry
Age: 9
Weight: 11-10
OR: 158
Days: -23

The nine year old wears the double green for Munir and Souede and is trained by Harry Fry.  A classy horse over hurdles, he’s made his switch to fences later in his career.

Rated 158 over timber, he took Grade One honours over three miles during the 2019 Aintree Festival. Making his chase debut back in mid October, he got off the mark at the first attempt and beat Fiddlerontheroof convincingly. 

He’s struggled to get his head in front since but has mixed it in open company. Second to Pym over three miles in a Listed event, he then finished third in the Kauto Star behind Shan Blue.

That outing being eye-catching in how well he saw out the race and rattled home for third.  Last seen in open company again, If The Cap Fits ran a mighty race in the Portman Cup Chase to be second to the highly talented Yala Enki.

Off level weights he was only beaten 5 lengths by the 161 rated chaser. 

A decent latest outing, he has bags of racing experience and has mixed it well with more experienced chasers this season. 

He’s a big price to get involved here but does have some decent form over fences and could surprise a few. 

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
09/04/22AIN24.5GS11-114
17/03/22CHL24Sft10-06
05/02/22SAN23.5GS10-115
26/12/21WCN24.5Sft11-84
20/11/21HAY24.5Gd11-129
Cheltenham - March 18 2021
Cheltenham 15:05
2
Sean Flanagan

Beacon Edge

J:
 
Sean Flanagan
T:
 
Noel Meade
Age: 7
Weight: 11-10
OR: 155
Days: -42

A runner for Noel Meade and Gigginstown House Stud, Beacon Edge has mainly been mixing it over 2.5 miles this campaign. 

Scoring a Grade Three win on his second run of the season, he was then only narrowly held by Honeysuckle in the Hatton's Grace. 

Next beaten by the classy Bachasson when giving away 7lbs, the form of that run has worked out well with that rival having one of his best seasons to date. 

Last seen beating owner mate Fury Road in the Boyne Hurdle he just seemed to have too much finishing kick for his rival and just got up late to victory when in receipt of 2lbs. 

Yet to be tested over three miles, he’s unexposed as a stayer but could find the trip too taxing. 

There’s an element of the unknown about his chances here and he’s probably best avoided. 

Cheltenham - March 18 2021
Cheltenham 15:05
11
Henry Brooke

Sam Spinner

J:
 
Henry Brooke
T:
 
Jedd O'Keeffe
Age: 9
Weight: 11-10
OR: 157

Nine year old Sam Spinner for Jedd O’Keefe was a successful novice hurdler that never dipped his toe into high class affairs. 

His second season over timber saw him take the Stayers’ handicap hurdle at Haydock by a wide margin and then follow up in Grade One company when winning the Long Walk at Ascot in 2019. 

Favourite for the 2018 Stayers' Hurdle he only managed fifth behind Penhill. 

A strange spell followed. He looked visually unhappy jumping and unseated Joe Colliver in the Long Walk when refusing to jump. 

He came back to form with a huge run in the Stayers’ that season to be 2nd to Paisley Park, threatening all the way to the back of the last flight. 

A spell chasing handed him three wins, including a wide margin Grade Two victory. However, he certainly wasn’t a natural and was awkward in the air. His class and huge engine carried him through. 

This season has been poor. Pulled up in the Charlie Hall, he was then last in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury. 

If finding form again over timber he can play a part but his inconsistency makes him hard to trust. 

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
18/03/21CHL24GS11-10PU
27/11/20NBY24Gd11-010
31/10/20WET24Sft11-3PU
14/12/19DON24Sft11-11
01/11/19WET24Sft11-101
Cheltenham - March 18 2021
Cheltenham 15:05
10
Robbie Power

Reserve Tank

J:
 
Robbie Power
T:
 
Colin Tizzard
Age: 7
Weight: 11-10
OR: 145
Days: -65

One for the Tizzard family, Reserve Tank made his presence felt in the Spring of 2019. 

Breaking his maiden, he backed up under a penalty before being a shock winner of the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at the Aintree festival. Sent over to Punchestown he showed his Aintree win was no fluke as he routed the best of the Irish, including the Ballymore winner City Island. 

Subsequently he went chasing but only managed to taste success once over fences when winning a Grade Two at Wincanton. Pulling up in last season’s Marsh, it would seem the idea of chasing has been shelved. 

Last seen behind Brewin’upastorm in the National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell, he shaped well enough on seasonal return and hinted that going further would suit. 

He’s a big price to get involved here but did look incredibly classy as a novice over hurdles.

He has a large task on his hands to get competitive in Grade One company on only his second start back over hurdles. 

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
03/02/23CHP19.5GS11-94
22/12/22FFO24Sft11-4PU
26/10/22CHP23.5Gd11-7PU
08/05/22PLU20.5Gd11-113
22/04/22CHP16Gd11-113
Cheltenham - March 18 2021
Cheltenham 15:05
6
Bryony Frost

Lil Rockerfeller

J:
 
Bryony Frost
T:
 
Tom George
Age: 10
Weight: 11-10
OR: 148
Days: -60

A loveable old sort for Neil King, Lil Rockerfeller has seemingly been around for ages. 

Second in the 2017 renewal his form since petered off. A short spell chasing followed which yielded some success but he was reverted back to hurdles in early 2019. 

He’s been very lightly raced since. Two runs on the flat were disappointing but since returning to jumps he’s been consistent. 

Second over fences, third in the Ascot Hurdle, has then been followed by two big runs over hurdles yielding two second places in lower graded affairs. 

A likeable sort he’s certainly out of his depth in this and is unlikely to be involved in the finish. 

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
17/05/21COM19Hy10-84
18/03/21CHL24GS11-10PU
16/01/21MAR23Hy11-02
27/11/20NBY24Gd11-122
23/11/19ASC19.5Sft11-03
Cheltenham - March 18 2021
Cheltenham 15:05
8
Fergus Gillard

Main Fact

J:
 
Fergus Gillard
T:
 
David Pipe
Age: 8
Weight: 11-10
OR: 153

One of the most progressive horses in recent memory, David Pipe’s eight year old ran up a sequence of nine wins between both flat and hurdles from January 2020 to November 2020. 

His rapid progress saw him leap up the weights in the handicap, culminating in an impressive win in the Grade Three stayers’ handicap at Haydock. The race that announced Paisley Park as top class, Main Fact looked ready to lay his challenge down to Grade One rivals. 

Sent for the Long Walk at Ascot, the step up in class seemingly found him out and he only managed seventh of the eight runners, beaten a long way. 

Last seen being beaten in a Grade Two by Third Wind, it would appear that he struggles to hold his own outside of handicap company. 

A big price to get involved, he’s likely to find the established Grade One and Grade Two horses too good again. 

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
21/10/22NBY16Sft9-115
18/03/21CHL24GS11-10PU
20/02/21HAY24.5Sft11-64
19/12/20ASC24.5Hy11-77
21/11/20HAY24.5Sft10-111
Cheltenham - March 18 2021
Cheltenham 15:05
1
Paul Townend

Bacardys

J:
 
Paul Townend
T:
 
W P Mullins
Age: 10
Weight: 11-10
OR: 153
Days: -42

A real consistent one for Mullins down the years, Bacardys will be contesting his fourth Stayers’ Hurdle this year. 
2018 he was about to deliver his challenge when coming down at the last flight. 

2019 he was well held behind Paisley Park. The division changed shape when the King of the stayers turned up on the scene and Bacardys struggled to get involved. 

Last year, with Apple’s Jade going off hard and Paisley Park floundering with a heart issue, Bacardys ran into third at an almighty price in a great performance. 

However, he’s struggled this season. Fourth in the Hattons Grace, pulled up in the Leopardstown Christmas Hurdle and fifth in the Galmoy. 

He’s a big price again and this year looks like a strong renewal. He’ll be lucky to be involved at 10 years old against strong looking rivals. 

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
12/08/22TRM21.5Gd10-12F
08/07/22KLB25Gd10-69
10/06/22CLO23Y11-51
22/04/22KLB22Gd/Y11-122
19/03/22THU22Gd11-122
Cheltenham - March 18 2021
Cheltenham 15:05
15
Ciaran Gethings

Younevercall

J:
 
Ciaran Gethings
T:
 
Kim Bailey
Age: 10
Weight: 11-10
OR: 156
Days: -37

The Kim Bailey trained 10 year old has been quite lightly raced for his age. 

He’s been hard to keep sound and has had a few large breaks in his career. What is evident however is three miles just seems to tax his stamina that little bit too far.

Two miles and five furlongs is this horse's absolute ideal and he was an impressive winner at Sandown’s jumps finale in a Grade two over this trip. 

He’s not run much since. An impressive weight carrying performance at Kempton over the trip saw him 2nd giving away chunks of weight to the winner. 

A really good fourth in the Long Walk also highlighted he doesn’t quite get home over three miles. 

Last seen pulling up in Grade two company behind the impressive McFabulous, he looks held on the form of the Long Walk and will struggle to get home over this trip again. 

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
24/04/21SAN21.5Gd11-01
18/03/21CHL24GS11-108
09/01/21KEM21Sft11-0PU
19/12/20ASC24.5Hy11-74
09/11/20KEM21Gd11-122