3.30 Cheltenham tips: Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle best bets from our experts

Do any of Paddy's pals fancy Flooring Porter to retain his crown?


*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

Flooring Porter bids to become the first horse since the legendary Big Buck’s to retain the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle this afternoon.

The runaway winner of last year’s renewal faces nine rivals in the 3.30pm at Cheltenham including former victors Paisley Park and Lisnagar Oscar.


The betting market is wide open and the leading contenders also boast patchy form heading into the contest including Klassical Dream, who beat Flooring Porter over Christmas before flopping last time out, and Long Walk Hurdle hero Champ, who lost over course-and-distance in the Cleeve Hurdle.

Generous Uncle Paddy’s giving away a FREE £/€5 BET to spend on any of today’s renewals so if you fancy splashing your freebie in Thursday’s feature at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival then we’ve rounded up our experts’ best bets below.


3.30 Cheltenham tips

Gina Bryce: A very open renewal in which a compelling case could be made for any number of these on a going day but trying to decipher when that day will be is half the battle for a talented bit quirky lineup. Will 2019 winner Paisley Park jump off on terms? Can last year’s winner Flooring Porter handle the crowd? What happened to Klassical Dream last time and will the real Champ please stand up? With so many questions to answer the reliable and ultra consistent THYME HILL may just provide the answer. Philip Hobbs’ stable star has an excellent record at Cheltenham including very solid Festival form and having been kept fresh and primed for the race there’s every reason to believe the best could yet still be to come for this progressive eight year old.

Matt Chapman: I’ve long thought THYME HILL is the one here for the master trainer Philip Hobbs and Tom O’Brien and I’m hoping it’s a good day for Tom. The Aintree winner was fourth to Monkfish in the 2020 Albert Bartlett and should have won that day as Richard Johnson had a bit of a shocker. This season Thyme Hill returned with a poor run in France and then a fine second to Champ in the Long Walk at Ascot. He’s been laid out for this and stays really strongly which is key. The rain hasn’t come enough for old boy Paisley Park and defending champion Flooring Porter is clearly talented but quirky.

Mick Fitzgerald: Mick Fitzgerald: Flooring Porter is the reigning champion and his trainer Gavin Cromwell is hitting form at the right time. The concern for Flooring Porter fans is how he reacts to the crowd as Cheltenham was behind closed doors last year. He is a little bit of a nutcase and, with this being the middle race, I worry that he may blow his top with the preliminaries. For that reason, I am going for the lightly-raced THYME HILL who was placed in an Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle and narrowly beaten by Champ in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot earlier this season, bouncing back from a poor seasonal debut at Auteuil. He has been kept fresh for this and could be the answer for an intriguing contest.

Frank Hickey: There are question marks about everything and there’s a chance the occasion gets to Klassical Dream and Flooring Porter. Paisley Park is 10 now and while people loved his win last time, that will be the highlight of his season. Champ is interesting with Nicky’s runners going really well on the Tuesday but he was very disappointing last time. THYME HILL was beaten by Champ in the Long Walk at Ascot after a poor run in France. He has six wins and three seconds from his 12 starts and he has finished 3rd in a Champion Bumper and was an unlucky 4th in Monkfish’s Albert Bartlett. He has been keep fresh for this and he is the most solid to run his race and that might just be good enough.

Timeform: Having made a remarkable rise through the ranks, FLOORING PORTER was dominant when landing this race 12 months ago. Things haven’t been plain sailing since but he put up a huge effort when runner-up to Klassical Dream (pair clear) at Leopardstown over Christmas. Kept fresh since, he can make a bold bid to defend his crown. Klassical Dream and Thyme Hill can emerge next best.

Ruby Walsh: The occasions and the ground will be key for Flooring Porter and Klassical Dream’s chances. Good ground should suit CHAMP the best and trainer Nicky Henderson’s horses usually do well on it.

3.30 Cheltenham tips summary:

Gina Bryce – Thyme Hill
Matt Chapman – Thyme Hill
Mick Fitzgerald – Thyme Hill
Frank Hickey – Thyme Hill
Timeform – Flooring Porter
Ruby Walsh – Champ

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