There is an excellent Saturday card on offer from Haydock Park towards the end of November, with a number of the big names from the previous 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. Until 2017 this race utilised rarely used Fixed Brush hurdles before reverting to regular hurdles and is often seen as an ideal stepping stone from the hurdling to chasing ranks.
The Betfair Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle was run for the first time in 2005 and has been a Grade 3 since 2011. Notable winners include Diamond Harry in 2009, Grand Crus in 2010 and Paisley Park in 2018.
Betfair Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle Past Winners
|2020||Main Fact||13/2||David Pipe||Fergus Gillard|
|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||Grands Crus||6/4||David Pipe||Tom Scudamore|
|2009||Diamond Harry||9/2||Nick Williams||Timmy Murphy|
|2008||According to Pete||11/2||Malcolm Jefferson||Graham Lee|
|2007||Millenium Royal||20/1||Francois Doumen||Christophe Pieux|
|2006||Halcon Genelardais||5/1||Alan King||Rpbert Thornton|
|2005||St Matthew||25/1||Sue Smtih||Padge Whelan|
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 almost 70% of the opening 16 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 16 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 2020 only two trainers and one jockey have landed the prize on more than once occasion.
David Pipe is the standout trainer here with four victories between 2010 and 2020. Only Nick Williams with Diamond Harry and Aubusson has been able to join Pipe in training more than one winner of this contest.
Teaming up with David Pipe onboard Grands Crus in 2010 and Gevrey Chambertin in 2013, Tom Scudamore holds the narrowest of leads in the 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 2020 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 two Grade 1 wins to date – including success in the 2019 Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Paisley Park’s Graded Race Victories
|25th Jan 2020||Cleeve Hurdle||Cheltenham||2||4/6||£34k|
|29th Nov 2019||Long Distance Hurdle||Newbury||2||8/15||£29k|
|14th Mar 2019||Stayers’ Hurdle||Cheltenham||1||11/8||£183k|
|26th Jan 2019||Cleeve Hurdle||Cheltenham||2||10/3||£34k|
|22nd Dec 2018||Long Walk Hurdle||Ascot||1||8/1||£57k|
|24th Nov 2018||Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle||Haydock||3||4/1||£57k|