Ryanair Stayers Hurdle Preview – Saturday 6th April
Last updated: April 4, 2019 by Leon Marshal
The 3.40 race at Aintree on Grand National day is the Ryanair Stayers Hurdle over three miles. This Grade 1 race is registered as The Liverpool Hurdle and has been won by many leading stayers over the years. Big Buck’s won the race for four successive seasons from 2009 to 2012. Other notable winners include Monet’s Garden (2005), Solwhit (2013) and Thistlecrack (2016).
Apple’s Jade favourite for Stayers Hurdle
The favourite is Gordon Elliott’s Apple’s Jade, a bitter disappointment in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham. The mare had won her previous four races by an aggregate margin of 73 lengths but was never travelling at Cheltenham, eventually trailing home a remote sixth to Espoir D’Allen.
She may have been intimidated by the presence of Melon who was sent to the front in the early stages. Apple’s Jade had been allowed to dictate her own pace in her previous easy victories. She has won here easily in the past but that lack-lustre run at the festival is a concern.
Sam Spinner has acquired a large following for his game front-running efforts. He seemed to have lost interest in the game when trying to refuse and unseated his rider at Ascot in December. A better effort followed at Cheltenham in the Cleeve Hurdle and he posted a career-best effort at the festival. Only the red hot favourite Paisley Park was able to get past him in the Cheltenham Stayers Hurdle. This tighter track may not play to his strengths and he was well beaten in this race a year ago.
If The Cap Fits has been running well all season for Harry Fry. He won over two and a half miles at Ascot in November and was runner-up to Vision Des Flos at Fontwell in February. He is not guaranteed to stay three miles but is more likely to get it here than at Cheltenham.
William Henry bids to follow up Coral Cup win
Roksana benefitted from the last flight fall of Benie Des Dieux to win the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham. She looked held at the time but was driven out by Harry Skelton to beat Stormy Ireland. This looks a much tougher race for the daughter of Dubai Destination.
Colin Tizzard’s West Approach has finished behind Paisley Park in his last three races. His best effort came at Ascot in the Long Walk Hurdle when beaten two lengths as a 40-1 outsider. He finished in front of several of these in the Cleeve Hurdle next time but was only ninth at the festival. Wholestone finished fifth in the Stayers Hurdle at Cheltenham after briefly threatening at the second last. He was runner-up to Identity Thief in this race a year ago and has place prospects once again.
Nicky Henderson’s William Henry came back from a wind operation to win the Coral Cup under a big weight. He races in the same colours as two-time winner Whisper. That was a fine effort in a very competitive event. Aux Ptits Soins was fancied for the Cleeve Hurdle but was well beaten in seventh place. He ran here in 2017 and finished a long way adrift in eighth place.
Apple’s Jade @2-1 Bet365
William Henry @16-1
Each-way 1/5 odds, 1,2,3
The Ryanair Stayers Hurdle is due off at 3.40 at Aintree on Saturday 6th April and will be televised live on ITV.