PART 2 – Stayers’ Hurdle 2018 & Gold Cup 2018
Following on from Friday where we looked at the Champion Hurdle and the Champion Chase here are some observations and pointers for next years final two feature contests of the festival.
Stayers’ Hurdle 2018
It’s quite feasible that two of the first three in this year’s Stayers’ Hurdle will fight out the finish in 2018. Lil Rockfeller produce a career best performance to finish second but Unowhatimeanharry was the better horse over the course of the season. He won the major trials and before the festival was the best staying hurdler in Britain and Ireland. Unwhatimeanharry looks like being trained for the race again and could improve on third pace and even win this time.
Nichols Canyon was recording his eighth Grade 1 success when an impressive winner of the championship race for long distance hurdlers. The horse is aged only seven and has now proven his stamina for the three mile trip. Nichols Canyon is the best stayer around now after Cheltenham and can improve over the distance with more physical maturity and strength.
Gold Cup 2018
Sizing John has the youth to win again next year but it’s a tough ask to be in peak shape on that specific day nest March. Coneygree won the race as a novice in 2015 and can still be a factor but Djakadam has not delivered after three chances and now could be more of a Grand National horse. Native River could mature into a champion but was soundly beaten by Sizing John this time. Might Bite is a potential winner of the next Gold Cup but has too may quirks to trust.
By a process of elimination that leaves Thistlecrack who produced excellent form in the King George in the context of the Gold Cup. The horse was by some distance the best staying hurdler of last season and translated that ability to fences. Thistlecrack missed this year’s Gold Cup due to injury but had run a great prep race on Trials Day when just edged out by many Clouds. Thistlecarck barring more injury is the horse to monitor up until next year’s Cheltenham Festival where the Gold Cup could be his.
If you miss part 1 on Friday you can view it at the link below…