The Stayers’ Hurdle is the big race on day three of the Cheltenham Festival. It’s a three-mile endurance test over the New Course that will reveal any chinks in the armor of contenders who don’t have the staying power to climb the famous hill finish.
First run in 1912, the race has been part of the Cheltenham fabric in its current form since 1972.
Inglis Drever (2005, 2007 & 2008) became the first three-time winner of the race for Howard Johnson, but his record did not last long as the mighty Big Buck eclipsed him when he won four in a row from 2009 to 2012 for Paul. Nicholls and Ruby Walsh in the famous colors of the late Andy Stewart.
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Popular winners since include Thistlecrack for Colin Tizzard in 2016 and Paisley Park for Emma Lavelle in 2019.
The last two renewals went to Gavin Cromwell’s Flooring Porter with smart pioneering rides from Danny Mullins and his owners’ union lit up Cheltenham in their glory days.
The eight-year-old returns to defend the crown in 2023 but has not won since last year’s Festival. Fellow Irish raiders Blazing Khal, Teahupoo and Home By The Lee are aiming to take his crown, while Nicky Henderson’s mare Maries Rock is a likely contender for the home team and France’s hopes of Cheltenham glory rest on winner Gold Tweet of the Cleeve Hurdle. on Test Day in January.
When is the Stayers’ Hurdle held?
The Stayers’ Hurdle takes place at 3.30pm. on Thursday 16 March and is the big race on day three of the Cheltenham Festival.
Stayers’ Hurdle: the runners and the jockeys
Final statements are on Tuesday
(Performance ratings out of five in parentheses)
1 Ashdale Bob – Jockey tbc (T: Jessica Harrington) 16/1 (**)
He doesn’t have the class of some of them and isn’t certain to stay three miles, but second to Home By The Lee in Grade 1 company at Christmas and could play for a place.
2 Asterion Forlong – Jockey tbc (T: Willie Mullins) 20/1
He has proved disappointing for fencers, despite being a clear talent. Returns to hurdles for the first time since finishing fourth in the 2020 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. A win would be a great achievement for Mullins. 3 Beacon Edge
– Jockey tbc (T: Noel Meade) 66/1 (**)
No match for a trio of captains in this match when they met in Ireland this season. He finished fourth in this one in 2021, but was in much better shape then. 4 Blazing Khal
– Jockey tbc (T: Charles Byrne) 4/11 (*****)
Out for 428 days before his decisive victory in the Boyne Hurdle at Navan last month. A massive player if he’s in the same frame of mind, but the manager has been careful since then. They are 2-2 at Cheltenham. 5 Dasher Draher
– Jockey tbc (T: Jeremy Scott) 25/1 (***)
Likable and versatile type who has run two seconds this year, in the Relkeel Hurdle here in the New Year and the Cleeve Hurdle this trip behind Gold Tweet. Does not fold without clipping. 6 Porter Floors
– Jockey tbc (T: Gavin Cromwell) 2/11 (***)
Trailblazing winner of this the last two years, but without a win since the last of those wins. However, it wouldn’t be a shock if he comes back to life here. 7 Home By The Lee
– Jockey tbc (T: Joseph O’Brien) 11/2 (***)
Only seventh in this contest last spring but much improved in Ireland this season and won the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle over this trip at Leopardstown. Risk to all based on this. 8 Classic Dream
– Jockey tbc (T: Willie Mullins 9/1 (***)
Won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in 2019. He has been lightly raced in recent seasons but was within striking distance of Teahupoo in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle in December and usually goes very well when fresh. 9 Paisley Park
– Jockey tbc (T: Emma Lavelle) 12/1 (**)
He won it in 2019 and has dined at the first table in the residency matches ever since. Very consistent but not being younger and third in the Cleeve Hurdle suggests he is vulnerable. 10 Sharjah
– Jockey tbc (T: Willie Mullins) 25/1
The Grade 1 Collector earns over two miles throughout his career despite not having star status. He seems to have lost some spark and this journey is a complete step into the unknown.
11 Sire du Berlais
– Jockey tbc (T: Gordon Elliott) 66/1 (**) The eleven-year veteran won the Pertemps final over course and distance in 2019 and 2020 and was runner-up to Flooring Porter in this one in 2021. However, he has been routinely beaten by several of those rivals of late.
– Jockey tbc (T: Gordon Elliott) 10/3 (***) He got the better of Klassical Dream in December when up 2m 3½f in the Grade 1 Hatton’s Grace Hurdle and added an easy Grade 2 win over that trip in January. Only bad start to Cheltenham.
13 Marie’s Rock
– Jockey tbc (T: Nicky Henderson) 3/1 (***) Winner of the Mares’ Hurdle here last March and showed the opposition a pair of clean heels in the Relkeel Hurdle in the New Year. He promises to stay on the trip and a bold move to face the boys on it.
14 Golden Tweets
– Jockey tbc (T: Gab Leenders) 12/1 (***) The French raider edged out Dashel Drasher to win the Cleeve Hurdle over course and distance on Trial Day and the connections paid a supplementary fee for a crack at this tougher race.
15 Henri La Farceur