Cheltenham Stayers Hurdle 2019 Preview

We can almost hear it. The thundering of hooves and that famous Cheltenham Roar. The countdown is on to the biggest National Hunt Festival in Ireland and Britain and racing fans and punters are eagerly anticipating the 2019 Cheltenham Festival to descend upon the county of Gloucestershire.

The Stayers Hurdle is a Grade 1, run over two miles, seven furlongs and holds an impressive pot of £325,000 in prize money.

The fourth race of the third day of the Festival, it welcomes some interesting runners.

National Hunt training genius Willie Mullins has won the previous years. Penhill has won the contest on the double for the Carlow based trainer and the eight-year-old was being primed to win at the Cheltenham Festival for the third straight win.

Unfortunately for owner Tony Bloom and the rest of the team behind Penhill he will not be going to the Festival now due to an injury sustained whilst training on February 27th.  

Interestingly now, the stat stands that no horses that has been beaten in the Albert Bartlett has ever won the Stayers at Cheltenham.

Young Pretender

The name on many punters and racing fans alike lips is Emma Lavelle-trained Paisley Park, who holds the position of ante-post favourite for the Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle. However, he has the Irish to beat in the Cheltenham Festival feature.

However the now top-priced 2-1 favourite, will have some stats to overcome as all five of the last six winners were returned bigger than 7/1.

With a list of well-known horses, it could be an open ball game for such an open race. The very mild winter Britain has experienced will also lead to some surprises.

Can the famous Faugheen return to his winning ways?
Faugheen “The Machine”

Faugheen fits quite a few of the stats in terms of a winner. The Willie Mullins-trained son of Germany may be now eleven years of age, but has only run 19 times to date over hurdles.

The Rich Ricci owned gelding however is coming off the back of his run at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival where he and Ruby Walsh took a dramatic fall at the second last. The Stayers Hurdle is his first return to the track since then.B

Last season’s runner-up

Jessica Harrington trained Supasundae to finish second in this very contest in 2018. Connections of the now nine-year-old, son of Galileo, will be hopeful he can return this year to do all the running. On his last outing at the Dublin Racing Festival last month he finished second in the Irish Champion Hurdle. One to certainly consider backing at an each-way ante-post price.

Black Op, trained by Tom George is in consistent form and the eight-year-old finished second to Samcro at last year’s Festival in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle. He put up a great performance that day but just couldn’t quicken enough.

Interesting names to keep an eye on include Top Notch and Gordon Elliott-trained Cracking Smart.

Selection: Faugheen


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