Cheltenham Festival: Stayers’ Hurdle Preview

The fabulous 4-day Cheltenham Festival begins on Tuesday March 16th

Here are some stats and facts from Will Reilly for the Grade 1 Stayers’ Hurdle, the feature race on Thursday March 18th (3:05pm) at the Cheltenham Festival.

In the last 28 runnings of the race, there have been eight winning outright-favourites plus two joint-favourites. That said, five favourites have won in the last eleven years.

Ten other favourites, plus one joint-favourite, have made the frame in the 28 races referred to, so the favourite tends to run well in this race.

Last year was an exception, though, with the first three home being returned at 50/1, 20/1 and 33/1!

In our sample, there have been five Irish-trained winners, including three of the last eight – Solwhit (2013), Nichols Canyon (2017) and Penhill (2018), the last two being trained by Willie Mullins.


Age (based on our sample):

  • Horses aged six or seven have dominated the race:
  • Six-year-olds, eight wins
  • Seven-year-olds, 11 wins
  • Eight-year-olds, six wins
  • Nine-year-olds three wins
  • The age stat would count against the older horses; Crimson Embers (1986) is the only 11yo to have won the race since the late 1920s


Multiple Winners:

Horses to have won the race more than once in our sample are Baracouda (2000 and 2002), Inglis Dever (2005, 2007, 2008) and Big Buck’s (2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012).


DISAPPOINTING NEWS on FRIDAY 12TH MARCH that THYME HILL will MISS the FESTIVAL but, accroding to trainer PHILIP HOBBS “Should be okay for Aintree”.




  • In 18 of the 28 races in our sample (including last year’s 50/1 winner referred to earlier), a horse priced in double-figures has made the frame, but no horse priced greater than 17/2 had been successful since Anzum scored at 40/1 in 1999, that is, until 2015 when Cole Harden won at 14/1, followed by Nichols Canyon (10/1, 2017), Penhill (12/1, 2018) and Lisnagar Oscar (50/1, 2020)
  • Nine of the 28 winners had not won over three miles prior to their Stayers’ Hurdle success, which includes Inglis Drever the first time he won it and Nichols Canyon in 2017
  • This race is often won by a horse that is not a huge price, has displayed class, although not necessarily at three miles.




Winning Distance:

  • This century, the winning distance of the race has been more than 1.5 lengths on nine occasions (from 20 races) It has been more than 2 lengths on six occasions. Lisnagar Oscar won by 2 lengths last year and Paisley Park won by 2.75 lengths the year before


Paisley Park beats Thyme Hill in a dramatic finish to the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot…


Other stats to consider:

  • If you back the favourite, there is a good chance that you will get a good run for your money. This year (at the time of writing – 3pm, Monday March 8th), there were 10/3 joint-favs – Thyme Hill (now a NON RUNNER, as of March 12th) and Paisley Park
  • A horse at a big price will probably get placed (las mentioned earlier), although the winner is likely to be returned in single figures.
  • Age (nine) and gender (no mare has won the race since Shuil Ar Aghaidh (1993) would count against Roksana winning (if she runs)


All things considered, we are left with a short list of two – Thyme Hill (now a NON RUNNER) and the 2019 winner, Paisley Park. So that leaves Paisley Park.

Interestingly, in receipt of 3lbs, Thyme Hill beat Paisley Park in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury last November but Paisley Park got his revenge at level weights Ascot in December, coming with a storming late run to get up close home and win by a neck

Unless you favour ‘recency bias’, the home team has a good record in the race.



WinnerTHYME HILL (10/3 at the time of writing, which was 3pm on March 8th) – Now a NON RUNNER so PAISLEY PARK is favoured.

Horse to run well at a double-figure price – Following his win over fences at Gowran Park last time, BACHASSON, who has won his last five races, which includes a Grade 3 hurdle, would be the choice. He was 16/1 at the time of writing (3pm, Monday March 8th)

Interestingly, in his preview for DANNY MULLINS gave SIRE DU BERLAIS as an each-way selection –

See (and hear) the full Danny Mullins interview via this link


Bar One Racing’s ante-post prices for the Stayers’ Hurdle can be found here

Bar One Racing’s ante-post prices for the Cheltenham Festival can be found here


DON’T FORGET that we have been NON RUNNER / NO BET (I.e. You get your cash back) on ANTE-POST bets at the CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL since JANUARY 6TH

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*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article