‘I’m so proud of the horse for showing everyone what he can do’: spare ride ends in Cheltenham Festival Stayers’ Hurdle victory

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  • Flooring Porter was relentless when leading from start to finish to take this afternoon’s Grade One Stayers’ Hurdle on day three of the Cheltenham Festival.

    The six-year-old, trained by Gavin Cromwell and owned by the Flooring Porter Syndicate, powered up the hill under Danny Mullins, for whom this was a first Cheltenham Festival victory. But Danny only got the call-up to ride the son of Yeats earlier today after his usual jockey Jonathan Moore stood himself down following a fall he took at Naas on Sunday (14 March) which left him with an injured back.

    “I took the decision while riding Flooring Porter this morning and I couldn’t stand up in my stirrups, so I concluded it wouldn’t be fair on the horse if I wasn’t 100%,” said Jonathan, who has partnered this horse on all five previous winning starts. “I’m delighted for the horse and I gave Danny as much information as I could prior to the race. I’m so proud of the horse for showing everyone what he can do.”

    Danny Mullins was self-deprecating when analysing his win: “This is a proper good horse. It is fantastic to win and for it to be a Grade One too, but I just had to steer this one — it’s special to win here,” he said.

    “It’s such a shame the owners can’t be here, but that was a massive performance by Flooring Porter — he’s got a huge engine,” said Gavin Cromwell. “I just feel terrible for Jonathan — it was a huge call for him to make in not riding the horse.”

    The syndicate behind Flooring Porter is made up of Ned Hogarty, who owns a flooring business in Galway, while the other members of the syndicate own a pub, hence this horse’s name, paid just €10,000 (£8,553) for the gelding three years ago after seeing a Facebook advert.

    Sire Du Berlais finished three-and-a-quarter lengths behind Flooring Porter under Mark Walsh for Denise Foster. Favourite and previous winner of this race Paisley Park finished in eventual third under Aidan Coleman for trainer Emma Lavelle.

    Who were the 2021 Stayers’ Hurdle runners?

    The following horses ran and their betting odds were correct at the time of publishing. Please gamble responsibly. BeGambleAware.

    Paisley Park | Jockey: Aidan Coleman | Place bet: 9/4
    Trainer: Emma Lavelle
    Owner: Mr Andrew Gemmell

    Fury Road | Jockey: Jack Kennedy | Place bet: 4/1
    Mrs Denise Foster, Ireland
    Gigginstown House Stud

    Sire du Berlais | Jockey: M P Walsh | Place bet: 6/1
    Mrs Denise Foster, Ireland
    Mr John P. McManus

    The Storyteller | Jockey: K M Donoghue | Place bet: 9/1
    Mrs Denise Foster, Ireland
    Mrs Pat Sloan

    Lisnagar Oscar | Jockey: Harry Skelton | Place bet: 10/1
    Rebecca Curtis
    Racing for Fun

    Flooring Porter | Jockey: Danny Mullins | Place bet: 14/1
    Gavin Cromwell, Ireland
    Flooring Porter Syndicate

    Vinndication | Jockey: David Bass | Place bet: 16/1
    Kim Bailey

    Beacon Edge | Jockey: S W Flanagan | Place bet: 16/1
    Noel Meade, Ireland
    Gigginstown House Stud

    If The Cap Fits | Jockey: Daryl Jacob | Place bet: 33/1
    Harry Fry
    Mr Simon Munir & Mr Isaac Souede

    Bacardys | Jockey: Paul Townend | Place bet: 40/1
    W. P. Mullins, Ireland
    Shanakiel Racing Syndicate

    Reserve Tank | Jockey: Robbie Power | Place bet: 66/1
    Colin Tizzard
    The Reserve Tankers

    Sam Spinner | Jockey: Henry Brooke | Place bet: 66/1
    Jedd O’Keeffe
    Caron & Paul Chapman

    Lil Rockerfeller | Jockey: Bryony Frost | Place bet: 80/1
    Neil King
    Davies Smith Govier & Brown

    Main Fact | Jockey: Fergus Gillard | Place bet: 80/1
    David Pipe
    Munrowd’s Partnership

    Younevercall | Jockey: Ciaran Gethings | Place bet: 100/1
    Kim Bailey
    Youneverknow Partnership

    What is the prize money for winning?

    The total prize pot for the 2021 Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle is £240,000 and the winner takes home £135,048.

    Recent winners

    2020: Lisnagar Oscar – read the race report
    2019: Paisley Park – read the race report
    2018: Penhill – read the race report
    2017: Nichols Canyon – read the race report
    2016: Thistlecrack – read the race report
    2015: Cole Harden – read the race report
    2014: More Of That – read the race report
    2013: Solwhit – read the race report
    2012: Big Buck’s – read the race report
    2011: Big Buck’s – read the race report

    Winning-most trainer, horse, jockey and owner

    The all-time leading Stayers’ Hurdle trainer is Paul Nicholls, who has so far won it a total of four times, thanks to Big Buck’s, who is also the horse that holds the most wins in this race (2009-12). The winning-most jockey in the race is Ruby Walsh, thanks to his five wins — all four on Big Buck’s, plus one on Nichols Canyon. And there are two leading Stayers’ Hurdle owners, who both have four wins each. These are the Stewart Family, who owned Big Buck’s and Andrea & Graham Wylie, who owned Inglis Drever (2005, 2007, 2008) and  Nichols Canyon.

    Continued below…

    The history of the Stayers’ Hurdle

    The inaugural Stayers’ Hurdle race was run in 1912 at Prestbury Park with £100 (£200 in 1913) prize money to the winner and £10 to the runner-up. It was called the Stayers Selling Hurdle and was a weight for age selling event with the winning horse being sold for £50 after the race. The race was dropped from the Festival programme twice during 1928–1929 and in 1939–1945 but in 1946 it replaced the Spa Hurdle, which was previously run in 1923 and 1942 over two miles. From 1946 to 1967 the Spa Hurdle was run over the same three miles until being renamed in 1972 as the Stayers’ Hurdle.

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