Stayers' Hurdle 2022: Flooring Porter heads 13 entries for Thursday feature

Flooring Porter is well fancied to retain his Stayers' Hurdle crown
Flooring Porter is well fancied to retain his Stayers' Hurdle crown

Gavin Cromwell's Flooring Porter is one of 13 entries for the Grade 1 Stayers' Hurdle, which is the feature race on day three of the Cheltenham Festival on March 17, as the Irish raider bids to retain the crown he won in tremendous style last season...

A three-and-a-quarter length winner of the Thursday showpiece at the 2021 festival, Flooring Porter has failed to taste victory since and was last seen finishing second to Klassical Dream in the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown in December, and that pair are set to lock horns once again with the Willie Mullins-trained raider another key figure towards the head of the betting.

In a fascinating betting heat which sees the bookmakers go 7/2 the field, there will be a strong challenge from the British for Stayers' Hurdle glory and spearheading the home team will be the Philip Hobbs-trained Thyme Hill, who was last seen finishing second to Nicky Henderson's Champ in the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot. Champ, who put a campaign over fences on the backburner, rocketed into Stayers' Hurdle contention with that fine Long Walk victory, but he failed to fire when well fancied for the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham in January, but the Seven Barrows inmate will try to bounce back to form in this wide open event, and he features in the entry list.

Winner of that Cleeve Hurdle in dramatic fashion was the Emma Lavelle-trained Paisley Park, who will bid to regain the Stayers' Hurdle crown he won in tremendous style back in 2019, and the ten-year-old has to be regarded a leading contender, if he can produce his best form in a wide open renewal.

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Cheltenham Tips

Ninth in the Mares' Novices' Hurdle at last season's Cheltenham Festival, Peter Fahey's Royal Kahala has come on leaps and bounds this campaign and has been victorious in a brace of Graded races on her last two starts, and while she holds an entry for the Mares' Hurdle on day one of the meeting, she is set to take her chance here and is a fascinating Irish-trained runner.

Willie Mullins is set to send Melon to his sixth Cheltenham Festival, and the Closutton inmate is another notable Irish-trained contender, while former winner of the race Lisnagar Oscar is another that catches the eye in a star-studded list. Runner-up in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham earlier in the season, Song For Someone will step up in trip for this contest, while Home By The Lee and former Martin Pipe winner Indefatigable is another that has been entered for what should be a hugely competitive renewal.

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Cheltenham Festival 2022
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