Long Distance Hurdle Date is 29th November 2019


Type: Grade 2 race (3 miles)


Trial race for Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival

Page Contents

General Race Info


Runners & Tips


Stats & Trends

Past Winners

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Long Distance Hurdle

Very much a confirmed and reliable trial for the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, the Grade 2 Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury is run every year in late November or early December. It takes place on a very important weekend for hurdlers with the two-milers also going in the Fighting Fifth up at Newcastle.

The race was inaugurated in 1990 and takes its participants over the full three-mile distance, jumping 12 of Newbury’s hurdles across the duration.

Given the record of this race’s winners in the past, the Long Distance Hurdle is considered a crucial trial for the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and so horses not just winning but running well in this race have to be noted by punters. Superstars Big Buck’s, Inglis Drever and Thistlecrack have all won this before going on to Festival glory, so it is fair to say that future Cheltenham 2021 offers will depend on the race.

The 2019 edition of the Long Distance Hurdle race will be staged on Friday November 29th.

Long Distance Hurdle Key Runners

Paisley Park heads the field for this year’s Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury, while taking out the rank outsider leaves us with these contenders.

Horse Age Jockey Trainer
Paisley Park 7 Aidan Coleman Emma Lavelle
The Worlds End 8 Adrian Heskin Tom George
Thistlecrack 11 Tom Scudamore Colin Tizzard
Unowhatimeanharry 11 Barry Geraghty Harry Fry

Long Distance Hurdle Tips (28/11/2019)

Paisley Park

Betting as expected is dominated by Paisley Park, the admirable seven-year-old of Emma Lavelle’s who improved throughout last season to ultimately land the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

At his best he’s more or less the rightful favourite and we must also entertain the notion that he could even improve significantly, but he’s no value currently at around 8/13 and despite having already reached the summit of his division there remains the distinct possibility that he could need the run first time out.

A clutch of horses all seem capable of reaching a very similar level; The Worlds End and last year’s Long Distance Hurdle winner Unowhatimeanharry being two for example, but should the highest rated pair be on or near their A-game then none of these should be capable of landing the event this time around.


The most interesting one at the odds is Colin Tizzard’s Liverpool Stayers’ Hurdle and King George VI Chase winner Thistlecrack at around 9/2. Having reached a high level over fences it is interesting that connections are willing to bring the 11-year-old back to hurdles, and if he’s fit enough to do himself justice, he is a big danger to the favourite.

Should Thistlecrack be within 5lbs of his best, which remains possible, then he looks to be the value in the race.

Long Distance Hurdle Bet: THISTLECRACK

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Long Distance Hurdle Stats & Trends

As a conditions race and not a handicap, age is unimportant here and in fact there have been many multiple winners who keep coming back year after year.

11 favourites out of 19 have taken the race, but they include some long odds-on shots such as regulars Big Buck’s and Baracouda. This is a quality race, so generally speaking an odds-on shot is very likely to score, but if there isn’t one and taking out the one-off 40/1 scorer Beer Goggles we are left with an average SP of 9/2.

This tells us that there is value to be had if there is not one truly outstanding candidate, so essentially if we have a wide-open field then consider staying away from the favourite altogether.

Many Long Distance Hurdle winners have already had a run that season, so look out for those making late-October or early-November debuts before coming here fully race fit.

Past Long Distance Hurdle Winners

Having won the race in 2016 and then been narrowly beaten by 40/1 shot Beer Goggles the year after, the challenge was on for Unowhatimeanharry to regain his crown at 10 years of age and he had the support of the majority of the crowd.

Sent off favourite, albeit at a very backable 11/4, Harry Fry’s gelding didn’t look overly comfortable early in the race but got into things as the event wore on. After the tenth of 12 hurdles he was looking good, taking the lead between the final two flights under a typically classy Barry Geraghty ride before being eased clear to score by 2½ lengths.

The only other fancied runners in the contest, Sam Spinner (3/1) and Momella (4/1), both crashed out meaning we can probably question the form, but not the popularity of the winner.

Here are all the Long Distance Hurdle winners since 2010, along with how they did at the subsequent Cheltenham Festival if taking part:

Year Winner Age Jockey Trainer Festival Performance
2018 Unowhatimeanharry 10 Barry Geraghty Harry Fry Did not run
2017 Beer Goggles 6 Richard Johnson Richard Wollacott Did not run
2016 Unowhatimeanharry 8 Barry Geraghty Harry Fry 3rd in Stayers’ Hurdle
2015 Thistlecrack 7 Tom Scudamore Colin Tizzard 1st in Stayers’ Hurdle
2014 Medinas 7 Richard Johnson Alan King Did not race
2013 Celestial Halo 9 Daryl Jacob Paul Nicholls 10th in Stayers’ Hurdle
2012 Big Buck’s 9 Ruby Walsh Paul Nicholls Did not run
2011 Big Buck’s 8 Ruby Walsh Paul Nicholls 1st in Stayers’ Hurdle
2010 Big Buck’s 7 Tony McCoy Paul Nicholls 1st in Stayers’ Hurdle