Cheltenham tips: Ruby Walsh’s early fancy for the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle

A wide-open renewal has Ruby plumping for an each-way shout.

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With the Dublin Racing Festival out of the way, we’re officially on the road to the Cheltenham Festival here at Paddy Power, with our antepost tipping podcast series in full swing.

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The From The Horse’s Mouth team took a close look at the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle in the latest episode and our resident jockey-turned-pundit Ruby Walsh, who won the race five times in his riding career, is liking the look of Sporting John.

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Ruby Walsh:

“I can’t explain Klassical Dream’s performance last time out but I would be surprised whether the tactics at Cheltenham would be to make all. I wouldn’t think so, I would say more the way Patrick rode him at Punchestown behind the pace fourth, fifth. I don’t think he needs to get involved on the front end to turn this into an absolute slog whereas we do feel he needs a trip, he still had the pace to win a Supreme. He has the tactical pace to travel behind a really strong gallop and find that comfortable and then be able to use his turn of foot which he mightn’t have at two miles but I’d say he definitely has at three miles. I would imagine that’s the way he would be ridden.

“Thyme Hill is slightly forgotten. He obviously missed the race last year, went to Aintree then when he beat Roksana. He had a poor run in France but that’s a hard race to win without a prep at that time of the year in November as the French horses have been in training and tuned up in August, September, October for that big meeting in Auteuil. It’s hard to go there with no run under your belt and beat them. I thought he ran well behind Champ in the Long Walk when he was second. He’s slightly the forgotten one maybe that we glanced over.

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“What Paisley Park did in the Cleeve was remarkable. As I said it wouldn’t have happened if I was riding him. I definitely would have pulled up thinking about this race. I thought Champ was disappointing in it.

If you’re pushing me I’d probably be going with Sporting John each-way.”

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