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What’s great is you can pick up Stayer Hurdle tips from our detailed runner by runner guide below. Who is fancied by experts to land the spoils in this test of stamina at Prestbury Park on 12 March?
1. Ask Dillon – 200/1
Local trainer Fergal O’Brien loves having runners at the Cheltenham Festival, but seven-year-old Ask Dillon is a handicapper in pretty hot water with the Stayers’ Hurdle.
Jockey: Thomas Dowson
Trainer: Chris Grant
2. Bacardys – 33/1
An enigmatic Willie Mullins trained Irish raider, Bacardys was sixth in this last year but did take the notable scalp of Apple’s Jade in a Grade 2 on reappearance. This nine-year-old is zero from four previous Cheltenham Festival appearances and failed to complete twice.
Jockey: Mr P. W. Mullins
Trainer: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
3. City Island – 12/1
One novice chaser that looks set for a return to hurdles is last year’s Ballymore winner, City Island. He beat Champ at the Festival, but fences haven’t really worked out. It’s a shrewd move to switch back and plenty of observers have this Martin Brassil-trained seven-year-old among Stayer Hurdle tips here.
Jockey: M. P. Walsh
Trainer: Martin Brassil, Ireland
4. Donna’s Diamond – 200/1
Another handicapper with a Stayers’ Hurdle entry, Donna’s Diamond represents trainer Chris Grant. At the age of 11, he is the joint eldest horse who could line up in this and has only ever won races at Haydock, Newcastle, and Scotland.
Jockey: Thomas Dowson
Trainer: Chris Grant
5. Emitom – 12/1
While all hasn’t gone to plan with Emitom this season, trainer Warren Greatrex saw his six-year-old take a big step back in the right direction with victory in the Grade 2 Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock last time out. The yard won the Stayers’ Hurdle with Cole Harden back in 2015.
In Emitom, connections have a lightly-raced young horse who is unexposed at the trip and open to plenty of further progress. He’s another of the Stayer Hurdle tips doing the rounds and has a live each-way chance if improving again.
Jockey: Gavin Sheehan
Trainer: Warren Greatrex
6. L’Ami Serge – 33/1
The 2018 Aintree Hurdle hero has returned to action this season following a lengthy lay-off and came second in the Grade 1 Long Walk at Ascot. L’Ami Serge is zero from five in previous Cheltenham appearances, however, and Henderson has also entered the 10-year-old in the Coral Cup
Jockey: Daryl Jacob
Trainer: Nicky Henderson
7. Lisnagar Oscar – 50/1
A progressive novice hurdler last season, Lisnagar Oscar hasn’t taken to fences, and the switchback saw him place third in the Grade 2 Cleeve Hurdle over course and distance last time out. Rebecca Curtis’s seven-year-old could only manage fifth in the Albert Bartlett last year, though, and is zero from three at Cheltenham.
Jockey: Adam Wedge
Trainer: Rebecca Curtis
8. Paisley Park – 8/13
Champion stayer Paisley Park is a red-hot betting favourite to retain his crown from 12 months ago. Unbeaten in his last seven, Emma Lavelle’s stable star was hugely progressive throughout the 2018-19 campaign which culminated in Stayers’ Hurdle success.
Paisley Park could still be improving, and his form sets a clear and obvious standard. There are no real negatives about the eight-year-old, and he remains the one they all have to beat.
Jockey: Aidan Coleman
Trainer: Emma Lavelle
9. Penhill – 18/1
Dual Cheltenham Festival winner Penhill didn’t get to defend his crown last year due to injury. Mullins has seen slow but steady improvement from the Tony Bloom-owned nine-year-old throughout this season since he made his comeback, however.
Connections have managed to get Penhill fit enough to win this without prep runs before. He has come alive at the track on previous visits, so it’s no surprise to see him among Stayers’ Hurdle tips as an each-way or place alternative to Paisley Park.
Jockey: P. Townend
Trainer: W. P. Mullins
10. Ronald Pump – 18/1
Rather than shoulder top weight in the Pertemps Final, Irish raider Ronald Pump is set to take his chance here. Trained by Matthew Smith, the seven-year-old isn’t really proven outside of handicap company but did come second in the Grade 1 Drinmore Novice Chase earlier this season.
Jockey: B. J. Cooper
Trainer: Matthew J. Smith, Ireland
11. Summerville Boy – 8/1
Tom George looks to have reinvented Summerville Boy as a stayer. The 2018 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle hero has been very mixed over fences but caught the eye when landing the Grade 2 Relkeel when back in this sphere at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.
Summerville Boy is now an eight-year-old and, bar some mistakes at the final two fences could have given Paisley Park a real scare in the Cleeve last time out. He is yet another of the Stayers’ Hurdle tips put forward in the weeks leading up to the Festival on those last two runs.
Jockey: Jonathan Burke
Trainer: Tom George
12. The Jam Man – 66/1
Flying the flag for Northern Ireland is Ronan McNally’s seven-year-old, The Jam Man. This horse had a sighter for the Festival when running fourth in a Cheltenham staying handicap on New Year’s Day. This intriguing entry will need to shape better to get involved in this, though.
Jockey: Sean Flanagan
Trainer: Ronan M. P. McNally, Ireland
13. Tobefair – 80/1
Debra Hamer’s Tobefair has run some big races in Cheltenham handicaps, but this Festival contest is another kettle of fish. The 10-year-old is definitely up against it, despite a very respectable record over course and distance.
Jockey: Tom Bellamy
Trainer: Debra Hamer
14. West Approach – 66/1
Famous for being Thistlecrack’s brother, this Tizzard-trained 10-year-old is another who is difficult to catch right. West Approach could run in the Grade 3 Ultima Handicap Chase over further on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival.
Jockey: Harry Cobden
Trainer: Colin Tizzard
15. Apple’s Jade – 22/1
A magnificent mare who has won Grade 1s at the full range of hurdle distances, Apple’s Jade is seeing her racing career wind down. Gordon Elliott has got so much out of the eight-year-old, but backers beware – there’s a worrying trend with her in that her form has completely tailed off in recent spring campaigns.
Jockey: Richard Johnson
Trainer: Gordon Elliott, Ireland
Stayers’ Hurdle tips
Paisley Park is very difficult to oppose here. Each-way or place plays to consider in the Stayers’ Hurdle this year include Emitom, City Island, Summerville Boy, and Penhill on his fine record at previous Festivals over course and distance.
*All odds correct at time of publication