Stayers Hurdle Tips 2022 (3.30pm Cheltenham Day 3)

Many people are talking up the Stayers Hurdle as the battle of Thyme Hill vs Paisley Park, but there is definitely some each-way value to be had and the likes of last years winner Lisnagar Oscar cannot be ruled out.

There are still a lot of horses declared for the Stayers Hurdle but even so, it is hard to see far beyond the first three or four in the ante-post betting market.

 

2022 Stayers Hurdle Odds

  • Flooring Porter – 7/2
  • Thyme Hill – 9/2
  • Champ – 5/1
  • Klassical Dream – 5/1
  • Paisley Park – 7/1
  • Royal Kahala – 10/1

 

Flooring Porter

No place better to start than the reigning champion. Flooring Porter started off in a handicap back in 2019 rated only 95, even in the summer of 2020 he was only third in a handicap at Galway off 130 and then was beaten again in the October before his Cheltenham win in another handicap. It wasn’t until they changed tactics and decided to go from the front did they see a different horse and gained his first win and then again, he gained another win in the Christmas Hurdle, where he showed how good he really was.

He was then sent off 12/1 for Cheltenham and I personally couldn’t have him at all, and he really did prove me and his doubters wrong with a bit of a shock victory. Danny Mullins wasn’t even meant to be on board until his regular rider Jonathan Moore had a nasty fall the weekend before and had to pull out on Thursday morning as he was in too much pain, Mullins gave him the ride of all rides when making all. He kept it simple again and went from pillar to post. Travelling like a dream, he was going so easily until 2 out and when Danny asked him to pick up the response was instant, going clear approaching the last.

He showed his quirkiness after the last when he veered to the right, essentially looking for the rail and when he got it, he flew again. This season, some would say hasn’t really gone to plan. He was pulled up on his seasonal reappearance and just looked like a very hard horse to get hold of.

Next, he showed abit more of the old horse from last year and just as he was getting to the lead, travelling best of the field he fell 2 out, leaving Darasso to pick up the pieces. Then the controversial race where Klassical Dream got a 5 lengths head start on him and he only lost by 2 lengths. Some say had it been a level start, Flooring Porter would have won. However, Klassical Dream was better for the win than the final distance and still would have won.

He’s shortened in the betting since Christmas by staying in his box with his main rivals faltering.  I have a number of worries with Flooring Porter starting with the crowd. He has never experienced the Cheltenham crowd, and there is a chance he could boil over, the lack of the rail is also a big negative, he will no doubt again jink out to the right again and there is no rail to stop him, so Danny Mullins will have his work cut out to make sure he doesn’t give too much ground away and the final bit is if he can’t get to the lead how will he cope. He seems a horse based on his previous runs that needs to lead and although last time he still ran somewhere up to his mark he still has only won when he’s led.

 

Thyme Hill

A funny sort of horse with a bagful of talent, however, more times than not he seems to find one or two of his opponents just that little too bit better than he is. He skipped last year’s festival with the Stayers Hurdle at Aintree his main target and it seemed the right decision. At Aintree, he took advantage of the fairly weak G1 field and apart from a slight mistake 2 out, he never really looked like getting beat and although only won by a neck, you always felt he was going to get there.

His first run this season was just a complete right off. You have to applaud connections for taking him over to France, but it just didn’t go to plan. He raced keenly, was then outpaced and just didn’t handle the French heavy ground.  He was then turned out 6 weeks later in the long walk at Ascot, where he went off the 5/2 favourite and ran a lot better finishing second to Champ but was always held by the winner that day and never really looked like winning. It is hard to see how he overturns the form with Champ, should Champ turn up in the same form. He does have Cheltenham Festival form, however, and running well in previous Festivals including a third in Envoi Allen’s bumper and 4th in Monkfish’s Albert Bartlett, and with the exception of his French run, he is very consistent so will give his true running

 

Champ

Champ is a horse with a lot of talent but isn’t the easiest horse, to put it lightly. He had a storming novice chase campaign including when winning what was called the RSA. Picking up the pieces and coming out of the clouds after Minella Indo and Allaho got racing way too early out (watch a replay of that below). After that, they must have thought they had a genuine Gold Cup horse but last year was a very weird season.

Champ wasn’t seen until February when Nicky ran him over 2m, and he came second to good yardstick in Sceau Royale. He actually went very easy and had no problem keeping up with the pace of the race albeit he was no match for the winner. The Gold Cup on other hand was a disaster. He went through the 1st fence which basically set the scene for the rest of it and ended up pulling up before the 7th. This season they have reverted back to hurdles and did leave the final target fairly late though as he has been schooling over fences at home.

His Ascot win was mightily impressive first time out. He took the lead going round Swinley Bottom and never really looked like being headed. At Cheltenham, he was disappointing when he went off odds on and just looked a different horse to Ascot. Whereas in the RSA he absolutely ate the hill up, this day he looked awkward, hung left in the finish and just didn’t really find anything which was very surprising.

However, it has come out since that Nicky wished he hadn’t have run him that day as he wasn’t 100% happy with him and he did look to be carrying a bit of condition around the parade ring too. So, it wouldn’t have been his true running and you have to think he will run better in March.

 

Klassical Dream

The majority of his opponents in this race have quirks but this lad has to have the most. He absolutely bolted in the Supreme Novices Hurdle in 2019 and then had a few disappointing runs that year. He wasn’t seen again until he was subject of a huge gamble at Punchestown in April 2021. This year he won the Christmas Hurdle and I still think he was better than the winning distance.

Less than a month later he was turned out at Gowran Park in the Galmoy where he went off a short price favourite and did no better than coming 4th. He was challenged for the lead but turning in to the home straight he looked to be travelling well and Paul looked to have a handful of horse beneath him, but the petrol tank just emptied. The reason for that was never found, but it could have been the quick turnaround or the tactics of the race.

For whatever reason, it wasn’t the true running. He does have his quirks and although he has festival form from his Supreme, he isn’t one to trust and with the occasion, he could just boil over. He does like to lead, but unlike Flooring Porter I would say it’s not essential if there is a challenge for the lead. I can see Paul just taking a tug early on and sitting in behind. He’s not thorough but he has shown how good he really can be.

 

Paisley Park

Rediscovered his old form in the Long Walk last time. The former champ whipped around at the start, gave ground and still managed to win. He had been hinting at a return to form for a little while connections kept saying how his work at home was. It would be an amazing training performance to get him to win it again and he will definitely be a crowd favourite.

 

Royal Kahala

Connections have confirmed this is the race for her after her first try at 3 miles saw a big improvement. She gets the 7lbs from the boys and is massively unexposed at this trip, although she has a lot to find on ratings, it’s not the impossible she can improve, and she is a big player.

 

Stayers Hurdle Tip

My Stayers Hurdle winner is Champ. There are a few horses who like to lead and can see them going off at an absolute burn up and get racing way too far out. The jockeys won’t make the same mistake and let Danny Mullins get his own way in the lead, nor will Klassical Dream be allowed to get the head start he got at Christmas,  and I can see the race falling right into Champs lap. I have been keen on him for a while, and he has everything you need to win a Stayers Hurdle.

Selection – Champ (5/1 with William Hill)

 

 

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Stayers Hurdle Trends

Age – 10 of the last 12 winners were aged between 6 and 8.

Price – 5 of the last 12 winners were favourites, 7/12 winners were in the top 3 in the betting.

Last Run – 8 of the last 12 winners won on their last run before the Stayers Hurdle, 8/12 winners had their last run with 54 days.

6/12 winners ran in the Cleeve Hurdle (Cheltenham) on their last run, 4 of the 6 won, 1 placed.

Previous Course Form – 12/12 winners had at least 1 previous run at Cheltenham, 8/12 winners had at least 1 previous win at Cheltenham.

Previous Distance Form – 9/12 winners had at least 2 runs over 23-25 furlongs, 8/12 winners had at least 2 wins over 23-25 furlongs.

Previous Hurdle Form – 11/12 winners had at least 8 previous runs over hurdles, 10/12 winners had at least 4 previous wins over hurdles.

Rating – 9/12 winners were rated 156 or higher.

Grade 1 Wins – 8/12 winners had at least 1 previous grade 1 win.

Grade 2 Wins – 11/12 winners had at least 1 previous grade 2 win.

Season Form – 11/12 winners had at least 2 runs that season, 10/12 winners had at least 1 win that season.

 

Stayers Hurdle Recent Winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer
2009 Big Bucks Ruby Walsh Paul Nicholls
2010 Big Bucks Ruby Walsh Paul Nicholls
2011 Big Bucks Ruby Walsh Paul Nicholls
2012 Big Bucks Ruby Walsh Paul Nicholls
2013 Solwhit Paul Carberry Charles Byrnes
2014 More of That Barry Geraghty Jonjo O’Neill
2015 Cole Harden Gavin Sheehan Warren Greatrex
2016 Thistlecrack Tom Scudamore Colin Tizzard
2017 Nichols Canyon Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins
2018 Penhill Paul Townend Willie Mullins
2019 Paisley Park Aidan Coleman Emma Lavelle
2020 Lisnagar Oscar Adam Wedge Rebecca Curtis

 

Stayers Hurdle 2020 Result

1st – Lisnagar Oscar (50/1)

2nd – Ronald Pump (20/1)

3rd – Bacardys (33/1)

4th – Emitom (10/1)

 

2021 Cheltenham Festival Tips