Billed as the feature race on the third day (Thursday) of the Cheltenham Festival, the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle (formerly the World Hurdle) is run over a distance of 3m with 12 hurdles to jump.
The present format of the contest was first run in 1972, and after being known as the Ladbrokes World Hurdle from 2005 the race returned to it’s original name – the Stayers’ Hurdle – in 2017, with Paddy Power now the race sponsors.
In recent years, the contest has been dominated by previous winners of the race with the French-trained, Baracouda, landing the prize twice, the gutsy Inglis Drever winning three times, while the Paul Nicholls-trained Big Buck’s took the honours four times on the bounce between 2009-2012.
In 2018 we saw the Willie Mullins yard win the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle for the second year in a row – this time with the 7 year-old Penhill, while it was Paisley Park that won the race in 2019 and gave trainer Emma Lavelle her first winner in the race – but could only manage seventh in the race in 2021 – he should be back for more this year though.
The 2020 Stayers’ Hurdle winner was won by the Rebecca Curtis-trained Lisnagar Oscar at a massive 50/1.
Here at RACING AHEAD we look back at recent Stayers’ Hurdle winners and give you the key stats to take into the 2021 renewal – this year run on 18th March 2021. =====================================================
Recent Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle Winners
2020 – LISNAGAR OSCAR (50/1)
2019 – PAISLEY PARK (11/8 fav)
2018 – PENHILL (12/1)
2017 – NICHOLS CANYON (10/1)
2016 – THISTLECRACK (Evs)
2015 – COLE HARDEN (14/1)
2014 – MORE OF THAT (15/2)
2013 – SOLWHIT (17/2)
2012 – BIG BUCK’S (5/6 fav)
2011 – BIG BUCK’S (10/11 fav)
2010 – BIG BUCK’S (5/6 fav)
2009 – BIG BUCK’S (6/1)
2008 – INGLIS DREVER (11/8 fav)
2007 – INGLIS DREVER (5/1)
2006 – MY WAY de SOLZEN (8/1)
2005 – INGLIS DREVER (5/1)
2004 – IRIS’S GIFT (9/2)
2003 – BARACOUDA (9/4 fav)
Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle Betting Trends
16/18 – Had raced within the last 10 weeks
15/18 – Finished 1st or 2nd last time out
15/18 – Had won over at least 3m (hurdles) before
15/18 – Aged 8 or younger
14/18 – Returned 8/1 or shorter in the betting
14/18 – Winning distance – 3 lengths or less
13/18 – Came from the top 3 in the betting
13/18 – Placed favourites
13/18 – Had raced that calendar year
12/18 – Went onto run at the Aintree Grand National Meeting later that season
12/18 – Had won over hurdles at Cheltenham before
11/18 – Won their latest race
11/18 – Contested either the Cleeve Hurdle (8) or the Long Walk Hurdle (3) last time out
10/18 – Rated 163 or higher
7/18 – French-bred
7/18 – Went onto win at Aintree later that season
7/18 – Winning favourite
4/18 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
3/18 – Irish-trained winners
The average winning SP in the last 18 runnings is 15/2
Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle Stats:
Every winner since 1972 has been aged 6 or older
Since 1972 there have been 7 previous winners of the race
Horses that ran at the previous season’s Cheltenham Festival are 22 from 26
Horses that were placed fourth or better last time out have won 32 of the last 33 renewals
The top five in the betting have finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in 7 of the last 17 renewals
Just three Irish-trained winners since 1996 – Solwhit (2013), Nichols Canyon (2017), Penhill (2018)
All of the last 33 winners were aged 9 or younger
Paddy Power Stayers Hurdle – 22 Year Trends
18/23 – British-trained winners
2/23 – French-trained winners
3/23 – Irish-trained winners
Trainer Paul Nicholls (UK) has trained 4 winners of the race
Willie Mullins (Ire) has trained just 2 winners of the race (2017, Nichols Canyon, 2018 Penhill)
RACING AHEAD VERDICT: 12 months ago, we saw a bit of a shock here with the 50/1 shot Lisnagar Oscar winning the race for trainer Rebecca Curtis – he’s back for more this year too and will be looking to become the first horse since Big Buck’s, who won the race four times (2009-2012), to defend his crown. He’d been poor since at the end of last year, but he returned to form to run a close second at Newbury in the Rendlesham Hurdle last time. That was also his first run after a wind op too, while the return to Cheltenham – a track he seems to enjoy – will be in his favour. We’ve also another past champ running though in PAISLEY PARK, and being the top-rated in the field he looks the one to beat again. He’ll be looking to become the first horse to regain his crown since Inglis Drever (2007) and has returned this season looking as good as ever. Yes, he flopped in the race 12 months ago – so that’s a small worry – but really that’s been his only poor showing from his last 10 outings. His main rival – Thyme Hill, who he beat in the Long Walk Hurdle last time, is now also out of the race which has obviously made his task a tad easier. His main challengers look to be the Irish pair of Sire Du Berlais, who is looking for Festival win number three after taking the last two runnings of the Pertemps Hurdle. The track clearly suits and he’s been kept fresh for this after running third in the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown last time out – he’s a big threat to Paisley Park. Another leading Irish hope will be Flooring Porter, who won the already mentioned Leopardstown Christmas Hurdle this season and heads here as a fast-improving staying hurdler. This will, however, be his first run at Cheltenham and horses having their Festival debuts don’t have a great record in this race. The consistent THE STORYTELLER (e/w) can go well and looks decent e/w value – he ran Kemboy to 2 lengths in the Irish Gold Cup last time out at Leopardstown, but is a very versatile sort that has 9 top two finishes (from 12 runs) to his name over hurdles. While the other interesting runner for the home-based trainers is VINNDICATION (e/w), for Kim Bailey. The yard are having a cracking time of it this season and the switch back to hurdles for this 8 year-old looks a good move. He’s actually 3-from-3 over hurdles and even though he’s not disgraced over fences (3 wins), he’s been a beaten favourite in his last three runs over the bigger obstacles, so freshening it up back over hurdles looks interesting. Yes, he’s a bit to find on the ratings – 10lbs lower than Paisley Park – but he’s a horse that’s gone well fresh in the past so the 110 day break isn’t a worry and he’s tasted the Festival in the past too, after running an excellent fourth in the Ultima Chase here last season.
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