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Racing News
Tuesday 3rd March 2020
In the limelight at Cheltenham Festival - A look back at the Stayers’ Hurdle

For most horse racing fans, the Cheltenham festival is an event not to be missed. The annual festival is one of the largest on the jumps racing calendar, which takes place over the course of four days and with race prize money second to only the Grand National; it’s not an event you’d want to miss.

Overall, there are a total of 28 races across the four days, with fourteen of those being rated grade 1; the highest level in national hunt racing. In addition, four of these races are feature races at the event, with a rich history dating back to early 20th century! Below, we’ll take a look at the feature races of the Cheltenham festival, and in particular, one of the most renowned races at the event – the Stayers’ Hurdle, it’s previous winners, and why you won’t want to miss it!

Feature Races of the Cheltenham Festival

Whilst feature races aren’t unique to Cheltenham, the four feature races of the Cheltenham Festival manage to draw quite the crowd each year. As the event coincides with the popular Irish bank holiday- St Patricks Day, there’s usually a particular large Irish crowd at the event, and an undeniably cheery atmosphere. So get your beers at the ready as we outline the four feature races of the Cheltenham festival!

Champion Hurdle – Established in 1927, the Champion Hurdle is the most prestigious of the four races with famous winners in previous years including Hatton’s Grace, Persian War and Istabraq. This year’s champion hurdle is set to be even more exciting than the last, with bookies predicting the most likely winners to be Epatante (3/1) and Pentland Hills (7/1).

Queen Mother Champion Chase – As the last feature race to be established out of the four in 1959, the Queen Mother Champion Chase comes in at just under two miles and is considered the top event for minimum distance chasing. Badsworth Boy completed a hat-trick in the race (1983-1985), and this year's renewal sees Nicky Henderson's Altior aiming for a third successive victory.

Cheltenham Gold Cup – Established in 1924, this race has created legends with the likes of Golden Miller, Arkle and L’Escargot making it big in this event. Described as the most important race at the Cheltenham festival, it also has the most sought after prize! 

Stayers’ Hurdle – Previously known as the World Hurdle, the Stayers’ Hurdle was renamed in 2016 and is the top event for long distance horse racing. Last year’s winner was Paisley Park and rumour is that they’re likely to win again this year, so keep your eyes peeled for the odds!

Establishing Stayers’ Hurdle

With origins dating back to 1912, the Stayers’ Hurdle is one of the oldest hunt races in the UK to still be going now. Considered as one of the top long distance hurdle events, it comes in at just under 3 miles and was sponsores from 2005 to 2015 as the World Hurdle. The first race took place at Prestbury Park, with the first place winner, taking home just £100 and the runner up taking home £10, a far cry from today’s winnings. Whilst the race is a firm favourite today, it’s hard to believe that is was actually removed from the programme twice throughout the previous century, once during 1928-1929, and a second time during 1939-1945.

Historic Sponsorship of Stayer’s Hurdle

There have been a number of sponsors for Stayers’ Hurdle over the years, with one of the first being Lloyd’s bank in 1972. Since then, sponsors have included the likes of Waterford Crystal and Bonusprint. However, most notably, sponsorship was taken over by betting conglomerate Ladbrokes in 2005 and lasted for a total of 10 years. Since then, Ryanair, Sun Bets and Sun Racing have also sponsored the race.

This year’s Race

In this year’s Stayer’s Hurdle race, those set to win include Paisley Park (4/6), Benie Des Dieux (2/1), Champ (6/1) and City Island (10/1). With Paisley Park as the 2019 winner, we’re holding out our hopes, however with a promising line up, it’s best to head over to Cheltenham Wednesday Tips to take a look for yourself. 

Get set for Cheltenham Festival 2020

So, there you have the lowdown on Stayers’ Hurdle, alongside the other three feature races of the event. Don’t forget to get the latest betting hints and tips from Cheltenham Festival before the big event to be in with the chance of taking home your won cash prize!

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