*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while in-copy odds are accurate at time of publication but subject to change
The third day of Cheltenham 2021 was set to feature the third instalment of this season’s blockbuster battle between Paisley Park and Thyme Hill in the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle, but the Philip Hobbs-trained seven-year-old suffered a minor muscle injury on the eve of the Festival.
Thyme Hill’s withdrawal has blown the contest wide open with last year’s Pertemps Network Final winner Sire Du Berlais, Flooring Porter and Vinndication all attracting plenty of interest to rival Paisley Park.
The Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle is the feature race on a jam-packed St Patrick’s Thursday schedule. It’s the leading long-distance hurdle event in the National Hunt calendar, with 12 flights over a daunting distance of about three miles on the New Course lying in wait. It promises to be one hell of a race.
Paisley Park was the odds-on favourite to win last year’s renewal but failed to fire as 50-1 shot Lisnagar Oscar claimed a shock victory. The reigning champ is back again to try and successfully follow up but he’s without a win from three starts this term.
Remember, you can check out all the day’s runners and riders by taking a look at our snazzy racecards while we’ve also got you covered with top tips from Ruby Walsh, the greatest jockey in Cheltenham history. Don’t forget, you can watch all 28 races at this year’s Festival live on paddypower.com and through the Paddy Power app. If that’s not enough, Paddy’s giving you a FREE £/€5 bet to use on any of today’s seven races. Simply click on the banner below to redeem the offer.
Andrew Cunneen: “SIRE DU BERLAIS is a decent-priced shot for the Stayers’ Hurdle and while Flooring Porter clearly had his number in the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown, it wouldn’t be a shock to see him reverse that form as he was probably raced too prominently”
FULL PREVIEW: 8 COURSE SPECIALISTS TO KEEP ONSIDE FOR MARCH
James Shortt: “There’s a handful of solid each-way horses in the picture for the Irish with FURY ROAD getting the each-way verdict for me at present. The extra few furlongs from the Boyne Hurdle run, along with a strongly run race at Cheltenham will see him among the late challengers.”
Gina Bryce: “PAISLEY PARK showed his characteristic brilliance last time at Ascot.”
FULL PREVIEW: GINA BRYCE’S TOP PICKS IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP RACES
Matt Chapman: “Although he ran deplorably in this race last year, PAISLEY PARK for me, is still the best stayer in the business.”
FULL PREVIEW: MATT CHAPMAN’S 4 TO SCORE IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP RACES
Mick Fitzgerald: “The Paddy Power Stayers Hurdle lost a little of it’s sparkle when Thyme Hill came out, but there is still plenty of opposition to the favourite PAISLEY PARK.”
FULL PREVIEW: MICK FITZGERALD’S BEST BETS FOR DAY 3 OF THE FESTIVAL
- DON’T MISS OUR BRAND NEW SNAZZY RACECARDS FOR EVERY SINGLE RACE TODAY
- … THEN CHECK OUT ALL THE WINNERS BEFORE ANYONE ELSE WITH OUR FAST RESULTS
PADDY POWER STAYERS’ HURDLE TRAINERS’ VERDICTS
Willie Mullins, trainer of Bacardys: “He always runs well here and will benefit from the drying conditions. He has an each-way chance.”
Noel Meade, trainer of Beacon Edge: “We think he has a good chance. He’s travelled over well and seems in good form. He had a colic during the winter and that knocked the stuffing out of him but he was very good at Navan and seems to have come on for that again.”
Gavin Cromwell, trainer of Flooring Porter: “He has form with Sire Du Berlais and the best of the Irish. He’s in good shape and is coming here fresh. It’s a little bit of unknown with the track and we’d prefer if he had a true running rail the whole way as he’s just not completely straightforward.”
Harry Fry, trainer of If The Cap Fits: “We’re reverting to hurdles as he hasn’t hit the same level of form over fences. He seems in good form and I hope he’s got an each-way squeak.”
Neil King, trainer of Lil Rockerfeller: “He’s in really good form – he’s only had two runs this season which is a big plus because he’s fresh and not been drained on heavy ground. The more the ground dries the better and we’ve put the headgear on as he’ll need to be sharp.”
Joe Tizzard, assistant to Colin Tizzard, trainer of Reserve Tank: “He had a nice comeback run and he loves a bit of good ground. Whether Cheltenham is his track I don’t know, he might prefer Aintree. He’s improved for his last race and if we can nick a bit of prize-money we’ll be chuffed.”
Jedd O’Keeffe, trainer of Sam Spinner: “We’ve put blinkers on to help with his confidence. His work and his schooling have been great. He’s still very capable and it’s not impossible he could get placed again.”
Kim Bailey, trainer of Vinndication & Younevercall: “I’m very happy with Vinndication, he’s in a good place and he’s unbeaten over hurdles. All Younevercall’s form is right-handed and I just hope we don’t do a Goshen. His form is good but the question is whether he can go left-handed.”
All the trainers were speaking to our friends at the Racing Post.
WHEN IS THE PADDY POWER STAYERS’ HURDLE?
The Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle takes place on Thursday March 18, on the third day of the Cheltenham Festival 2021. It’s scheduled to start at 15.05.
PADDY POWER STAYERS’ HURDLE WINNERS AT THE LAST FIVE FESTIVALS
2020 – Lisnagar Oscar (Horse), Adam Wedge (Jockey), Rebecca Curtis (Trainer)
2019 – Paisley Park, Aidan Coleman, Emma Lavelle
2018 – Penhill, Paul Townend, Willie Mullins
2017 – Nichols Canyon, Ruby Walsh, Willie Mullins
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL‘S BIG RACES
March 19 – 13.20 – Triumph Hurdle latest odds and tips
March 19 – 14.30 – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Chase latest odds and tips
March 19 – 15.05 – Gold Cup latest odds and tips
March 19 – 16.15 – Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase latest odds and tips
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL DAY THREE SCHEDULE
13.20 – Marsh Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 2m 3f 168y
13.55 – Pertemps Network Final (Handicap Hurdle) (Grade 3) 2m 7f 213y
14.30 – Ryanair Chase (Grade 1) 2m 4f 127y
15.05 – Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 7f 213y
15.40 – Paddy Power Plate (Handicap Chase) (Grade 3) 2m 4f 166y
16.15 – Daylesford Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m 179y
16.50 – Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup 3m 2f
*Paddy will be all over your telly box throughout the Cheltenham Festival sponsoring ITV’s live coverage from Prestbury Park – and you can get free and exclusive tipping columns EVERY DAY from Ruby Walsh, Matt Chapman and Mick Fitzgerald here on PP News.
Cheltenham Day 4 Tips
- Mick Fitzgerald’s best bets for Friday at Prestbury Park
- Matt Chapman’s selections for all of Day 4’s seven races
- Gina Bryce’s slick picks on Friday at Cheltenham
- Paddy Power Pundits’ Cheat Sheet for all of Friday’s races
Read More on Cheltenham 2021
- Cheltenham Festival dates, race times and expert tips for 2021
- Cheltenham Festival: Are fans allowed to attend Prestbury Park?
- Cheltenham tips: 6 favourites to follow at the 2021 festival
- Cheltenham tips: A Lucky 15 to live the dream at 2021 festival
- Cheltenham tips: Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle antepost tips from Frank Hickey
- Cheltenham tips: Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle antepost tips from Ruby Walsh