The big race of day 3 is over the small obstacles for the staying hurdlers. The Stayers Hurdle over 3 miles has a field of 15 but we still have an odds-on favourite in last year’s winner Paisley Park.
The favourite has won all 7 of his hurdle races since stepping out of novice company last year. He never wins by much but still looks hard to beat. As an 8 year old, he’s still improving and he loves this track. Like Big Bucks before him, he might be the next to win multiple Stayers’.
This leads me to look for a bet without the favourite and the ideal profile is one with stamina assured that likes to sit off the pace. The tank can empty quickly in this & those racing up with the pace quite often fail to last home.
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Summerville Boy is the 2nd favourite, judged on his close 2nd to Paisley Park here last time but, to me, he’s an average jumper at best and wants to go from the front. It takes some imagination to see him being involved.
City Island is interesting having won the Ballymore 12 months ago ahead of a winner already at this year’s Cheltenham, Champ. This season, he’s only run over fences and is reverting to hurdles today, back here at the Festival and now trying 3 miles for the first time. If he gets the trip, he could go well but the value has gone.
An impressive winner of the Rendlesham, Emitom cannot be ignored but he was last of 6 behind Summerville Boy on his only start here so is passed over. Festival veterans Penhill, Apples Jade and Bacardys aren’t to be ignored but I think their best days are behind them and I’d rather side with something less exposed.
This leads me to Ronald Pump from a tiny stable in Co Meath. It would be a fairytale should he win but it’s not beyond the realms of possibility. He’s progressed by winning 4 handicap hurdles last term and this season, he’s only run once over hurdles in amongst a chase campaign. That hurdles run was impressive as he finished 1 length 2nd in a 25 runner Pertemps Qualifier, where he gave 26lbs to the winner. Interesting that the winner won another big handicap thereafter and is now rated 138. Literally speaking, our selection would be rated 160+ (official mark of 156) but given the highest rated runner in the field, bar Paisley Park, is rated 157, he’s in with a massive shout and looks the one most likely to chase the favourite home.
PLACED – Back Ronald Pump (e/w) in the ‘without Paisley Park’ market for a 1/10 stake at 11.00 Bet365 (⅕ odds 1-3)