1pt win Sir Gerhard @7/1, Crambo @7/1, 15:30 Cheltenham, Thursday

3m (2m7f213y) (New) Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4yo+)

The Stayers’ Hurdle has looked a weak division in recent seasons evidenced by Sire Due Berlais winning at the ripe old age of 11 last season. And there is no shortage of veterans trying to claim one last big career success here alongside him with the likes of Paisley Park, Champ and Dashel Drasher still competng at the staying hurdler Grade 1 top-table.

This race certainly lost one of it’s potentially better prospects with Irish Point defecting to the Champion Hurdle. His stablemate Teahupoo has been laid out for this with just the one run this season. Gordon Elliott has been very deliberate with his approach and whilst he has got obvious claims, I think Teahupoo couldn’t have been more nailed on to win this last year and yet, he came up short against a very similar set of hurdlers.

But SIR GERHARD looks hugely interesting for his first attempt at three miles as a hurdler. His failed chasing campaign saw him revert back to the smaller obstacles and he put in a nice performance in a conditions 2m 3f hurdle over New Years – he isn’t a guaranteed stayer – but he won the Ballymore over 2m 5f on very soft going comfortably enough and there is every chance he can get the trip. He’s won at the Festival twice before and I can’t let him go unbacked as he has one of the most unexposed hurdling profiles of any in the race.

The other one that ticks all the boxes for me is CRAMBO. Fergal O’Brien may still be looking for his first Festival winner, but the progress of his second season hurdler has been mighty impressive. Seven-year-olds have won 50% of the last 10 runnings of this and Crambo has the aire of a horse that just does enough in his races which makes it hard to know where the ceiling to his quality might be. He has proven himself to be such a stout stayer and a real battler, which you need in spades for this race.

And it’s not just potential, Crambo also has the form on the board, having claimed the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle, outstaying none other than Paisley Park himself in December. He should be guaranteed a fast pace, which he definitely needs to be seen at his best and he has a lot versatility regarding the ground.

I like how Crambo travels and jumps in his races and he is a reliable sort to go to war as he can effectively lead or be dropped in in his races so he should be able to hand most scenarios for how this race is going to be won.

1pt win Sir Gerhard @7/1, 15:30 Cheltenham, Thursday
1pt win Crambo @7/1, 15:30 Cheltenham, Thursda

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