DISCLAIMER: ODDS AND ARTICLE UPDATED 06/03/2019, 16:27.
The Stayers' Hurdle crown is up for grabs following the recent news that Penhill won't be able to defend his crown. That has altered Stayers' Hurdle betting dramatically and so hopes will be high the leading British contender can continue his ascent through the ranks this term to win.
Paisley Park to Win and Each Way @ 7/4 - BET NOW
Emma Lavelle's charge has come up the ranks in fine style this season and is now unbeaten in four starts. He began by landing handicaps at Aintree and Haydock before really announcing his credentials when he landed the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot just before Christmas.
That race is among the key trials for the Stayers' contest at this meeting and he backed it up impressively at Cheltenham on Trials Day in January after he ran out a 12-length winner of the Cleeve Hurdle over the C&D.
His Stayers' Hurdle odds shortened significantly with the recent news that Penhill was going to be absent. Aidan Coleman is unbeaten in four outings on Paisley Park and the horse's story has captured public imagination, with owner Andrew Gemmell, blind since birth, an avid race goer for his big days on the track.
On the downside, Paisley Park didn't run well here last March in the Albert Bartlett, although his trainer felt he lacked the experience for that race. Will the buzz of Cheltenham leave him vulnerable once more? He is the form pick leading into the Festival.
Kilbricken Storm to Win and Each Way @ 16/1 - BET NOW
Colin Tizzard's runner came into the Albert Bartlett 12 months ago unfancied in the Cheltenham odds. He was a winner over the C&D earlier in that season but had been well beaten in his prep run over a shorter trip, allowing him to fly under the radar.
As the likes of Santini were all the rage, it was Kilbricken Storm that came up the hill strongest of all for a decisive score. He is unbeaten in two starts at Cheltenham, although connections will be hoping for plenty of rain during the week as his best form has come with plenty of give underfoot.
He hasn't run since December (twice raced over fences this season, winning once) but that isn't a big concern, as he also arrived here last March a fresh horse. If he can quickly adapt to hurdling once more and get his optimal conditions, Kilbricken Storm deserves to be amongst the Stayers' Hurdle tips in his quest to emulate Penhill by adding this prize to his Albert Bartlett win 12 months previous.
Faugheen to Win and Each Way @ 9/2 - BET NOW
The stats are against him but Faugheen will be on plenty of lists of Cheltenham tips once more this year. Only one horse aged 10 or more has won a Stayers' Hurdle - and that came 33 years ago - but Faugheen is no ordinary challenger.
'The Machine' was a winner at this meeting in 2014 and 2015, landing Champion Hurdle glory in the latter. Injury has curtailed his career, the result being that this will be just Faugheen's 21st career start.
He showed last April at Punchestown that he's a livewire over three miles, dispatching Penhill, no less, with authority. His reappearance this term was over a barely adequate two miles when second to stablemate Sharjah in the Morgiana Hurdle.
At Christmas he was still travelling with abandon behind Apple's Jade over three miles coming to two out when he crashed out. How would the market judge him had he stood up and given the star mare a race? Connections are talking up the chances of a big run from Faugheen and it is very dangerous to count him out in what does now look the strongest renewal of this contest.
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