The highlight of Day 3 is the Stayers’ Hurdle, a race once made his own by Big Bucks and trainer Paul Nicholls but a race the Irish, and particularly Willie Mullins, are trying to dominate by landing the last 2 runnings of the race.
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We have a solid favourite in the shape of Paisley Park from the unfashionable yard of Emma Lavelle. He was the last to finish in the 3 mile Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle at the Festival 12 months ago but has improved leaps and bounds this term winning all 4 starts. That includes the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot and, more recently, the Cleeve Hurdle over course and distance. He was impressive in the Cleeve but the quality of opposition wasn’t the best so I feel that current odds of around 7/4 are a little skinny.
The 2015 Champion Hurdle winner, Faugheen, is the likely 2nd favourite and he seems to hold a solid chance despite him fast approaching the end of his career, as he’s now an 11 year old. He was 6th in last year’s Champion Hurdle and, in the last 12 months, he’s raced over both this trip and the minimum. He beat last year’s Stayers winner Penhill at Punchestown in April before getting turned over at odds on in the 2 mile Morgiana. He was going well in the Christmas Hurdle before falling behind Apple’s Jade so his wellbeing has to be taken on trust.
Supasundae was originally declared for this and the Champion Hurdle but always looked more likely to come for this race. He’s only once been out of the first 2 in his last 11 races and that’s included winning the Coral Cup 2 years ago and finishing runner up in this race last year. Tongue tie goes on for the first time and he looks a solid each way bet, especially as ground somewhere between good to soft and soft looks ideal.
Bacardys has fallen in 3 of his last 5 starts, 2 of those falls coming over fences and the other was at the last in this 12 months ago when looking nailed on to place. He’s well suited by a big field (3rd of 23 here in the Bumper a few seasons back) and has followed a similar path into this race as last year. It would be no surprise to see him go close a year on from that last flight fall.
Of the others, last year’s Albert Bartlett winner Kilbricken Storm looks best of the rest. He’s 2 from 2 here, both over course and distance, and that counts for plenty. Like Bacardys, he’s only been seen over fences this season but a return to the smaller obstacles is in his favour and an unbeaten record at the track should not be ignored.
At the prices, Supasundae and Kilbricken Storm are the 2 to side with.
Back Supasundae (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 9.00 William Hill (⅕ odds 1-3)
Back it here:
Back Kilbricken Storm (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 15.00 Bet365 (⅕ odds 1-3)