Cheltmental’s 2023 Stayers’ Hurdle Preview

The Stayers’ Hurdle is the Championship race on day three of the Cheltenham Festival, and has seen some big name winners, including:

  • Baracouda
  • Inglis Drever
  • Big Buck’s
  • Thistlecrack
  • Paisley Park

Last year saw Gavin Cromwell’s Flooring Porter land his second successive win in the race, making all to win by 2¾ lengths. 

This year should be another fantastic renewal, with Flooring Porter bidding to become the joint-second most successful horse in the history of the race. However, he’ll face a tough test from the likes of Blazing Khal, Teahupoo and Home By The Lee. Here, racing expert Dave Young (A.K.A. Cheltmental) guides us through the key runners and gives us his advised bet for the Day 3 feature.

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Has just 4 runs over hurdles to his name and only one of those coming this season, but finds himself as the outright favourite for The Stayers Hurdle; the holy grail for staying hurdlers. Took over 10 months and 5 attempts to finally win a bumper, but with stamina an influence on his Dam side he’s progressed over hurdles while stepping up in trip in each of his first three runs in that sphere.

While we’re on the breeding; he’s the only progeny from his mother who was a modest mare and seen to best effect over the middle trip (around 2m 4f). His Grand-Dam was unraced but produced Blazing Tempo who raced for Willie Mullins and Rich Ricci who again was very much a middle distance mare, but did achieve an OR peak of 155 (equivalent of 162 with allowance). The Great-Grand-Dam was responsible for an iconic horse Danoli. Winner of a now Ballymore Novices Hurdle, 3rd when joint favourite in a Champion Hurdle followed by a 4th the season after who was even sent off 7/1 for The Gold Cup proper while attempting as a Novice (he fell that day when beaten and behind).

The point of mentioning all that on the Dam side is that I’m not sold he’s the dour stayer that it can take to win a Stayers Hurdle, and given we have one single line of form at 3m in a small hurdle sample, I’m trying to justify how he can be as short as he is. On the Sire side Kalanisi has produced Katchit, a champion hurdler so with the likes of Honest Vic & The Conditional staking their claim to him being a stamina sire, I’m not sure his page reads like one of a proper 3 miler.

The difference has to be seen though in his victory over course and distance as a novice back in December 2022 where he made some bad mistakes but won as he liked. Stamina was not in doubt there but that wasn’t in open company nor was it at a Grade 1 level. The course and distance may be the same but the hurdle structure is different with the last to the line the shortest it is all season. He’s officially rated 157 but you’d have to say we’ve not seen the bottom of him yet so you can make a case he’s a player. He most certainly does not warrant favouritism on what he’s achieved so much left to trust and his jumping not always an asset, I’m keen to look elsewhere.

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Gordon Elliott trained TEAHUPOO supposedly answered his stamina critics last time with an emphatic victory in the Galmoy Hurdle (a race which no winner has ever gone on to win The Stayers), but it wasn’t much of a race and his stamina wasn’t truly tested as they went very slow for a long way.

He flopped at Cheltenham last season with some stating the ground was the issue and let’s make no mistake, it won’t be any worse than the same ground this year so that has to be a concern.

For all that he’s rated 163 I’m not convinced on that figure and while he could be a really progressive and improving horse, I’m not sold this is his time to shine, especially in these conditions.



Failed chaser in 2020 – 2021 where he reverted back to hurdles culminating in a 6th in this race 12 months ago as a 7yo. Looks as though he’s come forward from that this season and he is 2 from 2 since he ran out back in August.

He’s officially rated 157, so in a normal year he’s not good enough to win this and I think his recent form, coupled with the reality that he shouldn’t be good enough to land this is why he’s around a 13/2 shot. I think that’s about right, because you couldn’t rule him out, he looks to be improving, but you’d think there’s something more progressive or with more ability that will get the better of him. Also, horses who have lost in the race previously have a terrible record of winning it down the line.



I think she’ll end up in this race and I think she’ll go very close. She’s shown at Punchestown last season that she has speed, but she’s been all about stamina in her other races.

She’s yet to test herself at this distance so there’s an obvious unknown about her there but with her mares allowance she’s right up there on ratings and with Milan as her sire who is responsible for the boat that is Santini, she’s as much chance of staying as any others with question marks about their stamina.

I can she why she’s proving a popular option and I think she’s in with a massive chance should she line up. She is, however, about the right price now.

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Has won the last two running’s of this but hasn’t looked anywhere near the same horse this season. Comforting somewhat that he’s had an issue and a layoff so fingers crossed he makes the big day, but those issues can at least attempt to explain his form the last twice.

If we trust there’s an explanation to that then we’re talking about a 2 time winner who wouldn’t need to have improved to be clear of this field so while there’s obvious risks attached with a horse out of form, at 7/1 he makes most appeal of those toward the head of the market.

I can only see his price contracting between now and race day so I’m suggesting a bet on him now.