|Thursday 9th March 2023|
Horses to Have Won Successive Editions of the Stayers’ Hurdle
The Stayers’ Hurdle is a much loved Cheltenham Festival classic. This Grade 1 test of endurance, run over more than two miles and seven furlongs, separates the best from the rest each year, and to win it is a phenomenal achievement for any horse, jockey, trainer and owner.
For some horses, the Stayers’ Hurdle has become their specialty, and a lucky few have won the race on successive occasions. Indeed, Flooring Porter, who will line up at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival as the defending champion and one of the favourites in the Stayers Hurdle odds, is aiming for a third consecutive triumph in the Stayers’ Hurdle.
The Gavin Cromwell-trained horse has proven himself as a master of the day three showpiece race, as other horses have done in the past. Let’s look at four horses who have excelled in the Stayers’ Hurdle by winning it at successive Festivals.
Baracouda (2002 and 2003)
A couple of decades ago, Baracouda announced himself as one of the sport’s star stayers by earning successive victories in the Stayer’s Hurdle in 2002 and 2003. Both wins were by narrow margins, winning by a neck in 2002 before shaving it by three quarters of a length a year later.
That didn’t matter to trainer Francois Doumen or jockey Thierry Doumen, who were left reveling in the stunning performances of their prized thoroughbred. Up until then, consecutive victories in the Stayers’ were few and far between, but Baracouda bucked the trend.
Inglis Drever (2007 and 2008)
Five years on from Baracouda’s memorable double, Inglis Drever emulated the feat for trainer Howard Johnson, winning the Stayers’ Hurdle with Paddy Brennan in the saddle in 2007 and Dennis O’Regan at the reins 12 months later.
Indeed, it was actually the horse’s third Stayers’ Hurdle triumph, having won it for the first time in 2005, a victory that also came with a different jockey in the form of Graham Lee.
Inglis Drever’s ability to win regardless of who was on his back is testament to the fine racehorse that he was, and many regard him as one of the greatest stayers of all time.
Big Buck’s (2009-2012)
The successive wins for Inglis Drever in 2007 and 2008 was followed by a stunning feat of achievement by the Paul Nicholls-trained Big Buck’s. With Cheltenham legend Ruby Walsh in the saddle, Big Buck’s won a remarkable four consecutive Stayers’ Hurdles, producing a series of memorable successes for his owners, the Stewart family.
Walsh was a jockey at the peak of his powers around that time, and he made his dominance count to enjoy a marvellous quartet of triumphs.
Flooring Porter (2021 and 2022)
That brings us to the modern-day great of the Stayers’ Hurdle. At 12/1, Flooring Porter was not exactly well fancied to get the win in the behind-closed-doors edition of the Cheltenham Festival back in 2021, but he overcame some fine competitors to earn the win.
Last year, at reduced odds of 4/1, Flooring Porter reigned supreme once again. Jockey Danny Mullins deserves plenty of plaudits for his performance in the saddle, and the pair will be going for the hat-trick next week.