The Stayers’ Hurdle
The Stayers’ Hurdle is the feature race on Day Three of the Cheltenham Festival. It is the foremost long-distance hurdle event in the calendar and is scheduled to go off at 3:30pm on St Patrick’s Day.
The race was first run in 1912 but has been dropped from the Festival twice in its history. Following the conclusion of the Second World War, the Stayers’ Hurdle returned to the schedule in place of the Spa Hurdle. It gained its current name in 1972 when it received sponsorship for the first time from Lloyd’s Bank.
It has also been sponsored by Waterford Crystal and Bonusprint at various points before Ladbrokes became associated with the event in 2005. The race was then renamed the World Hurdle – a title which stood until 2017, when it reverted back to the Stayers’ Hurdle.
Since 1993 the race has been held on the third day of the Festival, having previously been run on either the Tuesday or the Wednesday.
Last year’s renewal was won by 10/1 shot Nichols Canyon – the longest SP victor since 40/1 shot Anzum in 1999.
The 2018 Stayers’ Hurdle looks set to be a corker, with Supasundae, Sam Spinner, Apple’s Jade and Faugheen all ante-post chances.
The Stayers’ Hurdle is run on the New Course at Cheltenham over a distance of 4,828 metres or 3 miles, with horses required to jump 12 hurdles.
It is open to four-year-olds with a weight of 11st, and five-year-olds and over with a weight of 11st 10lb. Mares and fillies entered are granted the 7lb weight allowance.The winning connections in 2018 will receive £185,087.50 out of a total purse of £325,000.
Race Records and Trends
The most successful horse, jockey, trainer and owner for the Stayers’ Hurdle all come as a package deal.
For four consecutive years from 2009 until 2012, the event was taken by Ruby Walsh on Big Buck’s, trained by Paul Nicholls from the stable of The Stewart Family. Big Buck’s ended his winning streak at the World Hurdle in 2013 when he came fourth and was retired from racing in 2014. Ruby Walsh has earned the title of leading jockey at the Cheltenham Festival nine times since 2004.
Only twice in the last five years has the SP favourite gone onto claim the spoils in this renewal. Cole Harden triumphed for Warren Greatrex in 2015 and Thistlecrack returned favouritism in 2016 for Colin Tizzard.
- Seven-year-olds account for just two of the last 13 winners.
- Yet 12 of the last 15 winners have been aged eight or below.
- Eight of the last 13 winners have been SP 4/1 or greater.
- British and Irish-bred horses have won the last four renewals.
- 10 out of the last 15 winners had won their last race.
- 12 out of 15 had run 3m over hurdles before.
Nine out of 15 had contested the Cleeve Hurdle or Long Walk Hurdle on their previous run.
Stayer’s Hurdle Winners
Although the race has been dominated by Big Buck’s over the last 10 years, the last half-decade has provided a mixed bag of winners. No horse has claimed a dual triumph, while three of the last five winners have gone off at 8/1 or above.
- 2008: Inglis Drever – Denis O’Regan
- 2009: Big Buck’s – Ruby Walsh
- 2010: Big Buck’s – Ruby Walsh
- 2011: Big Buck’s – Ruby Walsh
- 2012: Big Buck’s – Ruby Walsh
- 2013: Solwhit – Paul Carberry
- 2014: More of That – Barry Geraghty
- 2015: Cole Harden – Gavin Sheehan
- 2016: Thistlecrack – Tom Scudamore
- 2017: Nicholas Canyon – Ruby Walsh
The Stayers’ Hurdle is one of the feature events of the Cheltenham Festival, eagerly anticipated by spectators and participants alike. With a huge amount of prestige attached to the race, this one will be fiercely fought right up until the final furlong.
You can get all the latest Cheltenham Festival odds and Stayers’ Hurdle odds at Ladbrokes.