We have an excellent card on offer from Haydock Park on Saturday, with a number of the big names from last season making their return to the track. The Betfair Chase may be the headline act, but there’s plenty more on offer besides, including this staying handicap for the hurdlers. Utilising rarely used Fixed Brush hurdles, this contest is often seen as an ideal stepping stone from the hurdling to chasing ranks.
This looks a solid renewal, and we will certainly be keeping our eye on a few of these as the season goes on. Overall though we can’t ignore the claims of one who appears thrown in on the handicap and left the opposition for dead only last week.
Next Race: TBD
The next renewal of this race has not been scheduled yet. We will update this once the schedule has been released for next season. The race info, trends and tips shown below will be updated for the next renewal once the final declarations have been made.
Last Run: 23rd November 2019
- Winner: Stoney Mountain
- SP: 16/1
- Trainer: Henry Daly
- Jockey: Tom O'Brien
3m½f is the trip for this Grade 3 handicap hurdle which is set to be run on good to soft ground this year and offers £100,000 in total prize money.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Good to Soft||3m½f||Grade 3||£100,000||17 Runners||1/4 1-4|
Betfair Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from the last running of the race. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
We look likely to have eight runners set go to post this year and whilst not all of the top yards are represented, English giant Paul Nicholls and Irish supremo Gordon Elliott do each hold an entry.
ASSIGNMENT TO PASS HIS LATEST TEST?
Currently clear at the head of the betting is the Ian Williams runner, First Assignment. It was only last weekend that this one was last seen at the track, and judged on the back of that performance at Cheltenham, it’s not hard to see why he tops the market here. Nine lengths too good for the field that day, the handicapper saw fit to bump him up 13lbs for that win, but he gets in under just a 5lb penalty here, making him look very well in on the book. Williams did state that he can be something of a fragile horse though which does pose a slight question about his ability to back up that performance being turned out again so quickly.
CAT TO POUNCE FOR NICHOLLS?
Unlike First Assignment, the Paul Nicholls runner Captain Cattistock didn’t blow anyone away with his performance last time out. He did however but in an effort which suggested that this test may suit him well. Keeping on nicely in a Grade 3 handicap over 2m3½f at Chepstow that day, he just looked a little tapped for toe in the closing stages and the additional distance here may well see him in a better light. Previously a six-length winner over 2m5½f, he does seem to stay well and the handicapper has done his bit by leaving him on an unchanged mark of 138 for that comeback run. The one concern would be the ground as he does look a better horse on soft ground, and that seems unlikely to materialise at present.
ELLIOTT TO LEAVE RIVALS FEELING BLUE?
One runner who certainly won’t be done for stamina here is the Gordon Elliott representative, Folsom Blue. Twice a winner at 3m4f and beyond, he looks the type to be well suited by these hurdles and appears the most interesting of those at double figure odds. He is however 11 years old now, which makes him a bad fit on the trends, and with all seven of his career victories coming on soft or worse going, he surely needs the heavens to open if he is to come home in front. Staying on into a place may not be beyond him though.
FINAL VERDICT: FIRST ASSIGNMENT TO WIN
The going looks to be the most significant factor here. At present it seems against both Captain Cattistock and Folsom Blue, whilst the other horse towards the head of the market – Paisley Park – was beaten out of sight on his only previous try at this trip.
Eight pounds well in on the book, and clearly in the form of his life, it is First Assignment who is the one for us here. We suspect his trainer wouldn’t run him if he weren’t entirely happy with his wellbeing given those concerns about his hardiness, and he may just have too much toe for these.
Betfair Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle Winners
This has been a race for the younger performers in general over the past 10 years, with eight of the winners over this period being either five or six years of age.
It has also been a contest in which the market has struggled to find the winner, with only two winning favourites in the past decade, and each of the past seven to come home in front returning an SP of 6/1 or bigger.
|2019||Stoney Mountain||16/1||Henry Daly||Tom O'Brien|
|2018||Paisley Park||4/1||Emma Lavelle||Aidan Coleman|
|2017||Sam Spinner||6/1||Jedd O’Keefe||Joe Colliver|
|2016||Kruzhlinin||9/1||Philip Hobbs||Richard Johnson|
|2015||Baradari||12/1||Dan Skelton||Harry Skelton|
|2014||Aubusson||9/1||Nick Williams||Lizzie Kelly|
|2013||Gevrey Chambertin||6/1||David Pipe||Tom Scudamore|
|2012||Trustan Times||10/1||Tim Easterby||Dougie Costello|
|2011||Dynaste||7/1||David Pipe||Conor O'Farrell|
|2010||Grand Crus||6/4||David Pipe||Tom Scudamore|
About the Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle: Stamina On Show At Haydock
First run in 2005, this 3m½f contest for the staying handicappers has quickly become an integral part of the hurdling programme for those runners who boast stamina as their strong suit. Open to horses aged four and older, this Grade 3 event is scheduled to take place at the Merseyside venue of Haydock in November each year.
Initially held over the slightly shorter trip of 2m7f, it wasn’t until the 2018 renewal of the race that the current distance was introduced. The type of obstacle encountered by the competitors has also varied over the first 15 editions, with the French style “Fixed Brush” hurdles being utilised between 2007 and 2016. These stiffer obstacles are essentially similar in construction to British fences but smaller in size. The race reverted back to standard hurdles in 2017.
Whilst the trip and hurdle type may have altered over time, one thing which has remained constant up to 2019 is the sponsorship of the race. Betfair lent their support to the very first edition of the race and have maintained that backing ever since.
Younger Runners Hold The Edge
Being a hurdle contest, it perhaps isn’t too surprising that the younger performers have led the way in this event to date. The edge has nevertheless been pretty pronounced, with over 70% of the opening 15 editions falling to a runner aged either five or six.
Those over seven years of age have rarely troubled the judge, and so special mention must go to the Philip Hobbs runner Kruzhlinin, who became the oldest winner in the early history of the race when coming home in front in 2016 at the ripe old age of nine.
Pipe And Scudamore At The Double
One interesting fact about the opening 15 editions of this race is just how open it has been in terms of the variety of trainers and jockeys to have come home in front. As of 2019 only one trainer and one jockey have landed the prize on more than once occasion.
Teaming up with Grands Crus in 2010 and Gevrey Chambertin in 2013, it is the trainer-jockey combo of David Pipe and Tom Scudamore who hold the narrowest of leads in the respective trainer and jockey tables for the race.
Paisley Top Of The Pile
This may “only” be a handicap contest, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t attracted a number of extremely high-class performers over the years. Millenium Royal (2007) was a Grade 1 winner in France; whilst Diamond Harry (2009), Grand Crus (2010), Dynaste (2011) and Sam Spinner (2017) all counted a domestic Grade 1 success on their CV. Synchronised meanwhile could manage only third in this in 2011, but went on to enter the history books with a famous win under Sir Tony McCoy in the 2012 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The classiest winner of the race as of 2019 though is 2018 victor, Paisley Park. Emma Lavelle’s stable star announced himself on the staying hurdle scene success in this race and went on to dominate the division, with three Grade 1 wins and counting – including success in the 2019 Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.