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Cheltenham Stayers' Hurdle 2023 predictions: Mullins could finish top of the Klass
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Enda McElhinney
Racing Post

- This year's Cheltenham Festival takes place from March 14-17 
- The feature race on the third day is the Stayers' Hurdle 
- Recommended bets: 
- Klassical Dream @ 8/1 
- Dashel Drasher @ 16/1 to win and each-way

The feature race on day three of the Cheltenham Festival is the Stayers' Hurdle, a gruelling stamina test over three miles won by greats like Inglis Drever and Big Buck's with great distinction this century.

This year the race looks wide open, despite the fact Flooring Porter is seeking to join those two great names in winning the race for a third time. 

We look ahead to the Stayers' Hurdle on Thursday, February 16.

Doubts over plenty in the Stayers' picture

The front of the Stayers' Hurdle market has more than an element of doubt about it. 

Blazing Khal, 5/2 with LiveScore Bet, was impressive in the Boyne Hurdle recently but that was his first start in well over a year and trainer Charles Byrnes reported he has had a small setback since, hardly ideal.

Teahupoo was favourite before him, now priced at 10/3 with LiveScore Bet, though it is generally accepted that Gordon Elliott's inmate will require plenty of cut in the ground if he is to maintain his progress this season.

For that reason they are overlooked, as the shortest priced runners currently.

Two-time defending champion Flooring Porter has had a few disappointments this season too, not unlike last year, but more worrying were some cautious post-Christmas updates from Gavin Cromwell on his wellbeing.

Danny Mullins has ridden to tremendous effect for a pair of front-running wins in this race but they are not certain to get things easy this time, priced at 5/1 with LiveScore Bet.

Dashel Drasher could run well in front

Dashel Drasher was second in the Cleeve Hurdle over the C&D on Trials Day and offers plenty of each-way value
Dashel Drasher was second in the Cleeve Hurdle over the C&D on Trials Day and offers plenty of each-way value

That owes largely to the probable presence of DASHEL DRASHER for Jeremy Scott. 

He is a thoroughly likable sort and found just one too good in the Cleeve Hurdle over the C&D on Trials Day in January.

This is his only Festival entry and he could give it another bold sighter in front. 

His presence also must make any of Flooring Porter's suitors wary, as there will not be much chance of pinching an easy lead with him around.

At current odds, the tough Dashel Drasher is one of the more appealing each-way contenders for the Stayers', available at 16/1 with LiveScore Bet.

Klass act could be the one for Mullins

Home By The Lee has impressed in Ireland this season for Joseph O'Brien and should be better than when finishing sixth in this contest last year, but his tendency to come off the bridle early in races is a worry.

With reasons to have some doubt about plenty of the others, KLASSICAL DREAM is given the nod for Willie Mullins.

Winner of the Supreme Novices' Hurdle here in 2019, he was fifth in this race last spring on his only Cheltenham visit since.

He had earlier beaten Flooring Porter at Leopardstown to win a Grade 1 last Christmas, making it back-to-back Grade 1s over three miles, having also won at Punchestown the previous spring.

He has only had 13 starts since arriving from France in 2018 and is undoubtedly a fragile sort.

He has, though, often brought his best stuff when fresh, including when a neck behind Teahupoo in the Hatton's Grace in December over 2m3½f on soft ground.

Five of his seven wins for this trainer have arrived in the spring and it is clearly no concern that he will be a fresh horse come March 16. 

He is good value at this stage.

Racing Post selection: Klassical Dream 
Each-way contender: Dashel Drasher


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