The Stayers' Hurdle is the big feature on Day 3 of the Cheltenham Festival and we've opened up a Telegraph Predictor contest based just on that race.
To get you started, our resident Pinsticker has given his views below. Register your own answers in before 3:30pm today for the chance to win a prize.
Stayers Hurdle latest odds:
Cole Harden (8/1)
Nichols Canyon (12/1)
Snow Falcon (20/1)
West Approach (20/1)
Clondaw Warrior (25/1)
Lil Rockerfeller (33/1)
Q1: Will Nichols Canyon finish ahead of Shaneshill?
Willie Mullins’ two horses can’t be separated in the betting market; Ruby Walsh plumps for the ride on Nichols Canyon and Paul Townend takes Shaneshill. My feeling is that both would prefer some cut in the ground and so I don’t expect either to be in the shake up at the end. Shaneshill had the beating of Nichols Canyon over 3m last May and finished second to Blaklion in the RSA last year. We know he stays the trip at Cheltenham and the switch back to hurdles saw a victory over the distance last time out.
Pinsticker verdict: No
Q2: Will Cole Harden finish in the first 3?
Victor in this race in 2015, he found the pace of the relentless Thistlecrack too much last year. The renowned Inglis Drever won the first-ever running of the Ladbrokes World Hurdle in 2005. After suffering a career-threatening injury with a fall at Newbury, he was unable to defend his title in 2006. He did, however, return to the track and reclaimed the crown in both 2007 and 2008. I’m not sure Cole Harden is anywhere near the class of Inglis Drever, but finished only 1¾ lengths behind Unowhatimeanharry at Cheltenham in January and a repeat is probably on the cards.
Pinsticker verdict: Yes
Q3: Will Ballyoptic finish ahead of West Approach?
Ballyoptic finished six lengths behind West Approach at Cheltenham in January and I can’t see any reason why the form will be reversed this time.
Pinsticker verdict: No
Q4: Which horse will WIN the race?
The favourite Unowhatimeanharry has form figures of 1111111 since moving to Harry Fry’s stable and should give jockey Noel Fehily a hat-trick of wins at this year’s Festival in the championship races.
Pinsticker verdict: Unowhatimeanharry (x1)
Q5: Pick a horse to finish 2nd or 3rd
It’s key to try and pick the outsider for extra points. Jezki is a good horse and will push the favourite home but will only gain 20 points. Instead we’ll switch to the Colin Tizzard trained West Approach and hope for 80 points
Pinsticker verdict: West Approach OR Snow Falcon (x4)
Q6: What will the WINNING DISTANCE be?
Unowhatimeanharry’s average margin of victory in his eight back to back wins is a shade under 3½ lengths.
Pinsticker verdict: 3 lengths or more (x3)
Q7: How many runners will FAIL to complete the race?
There were 4 failed to finish last year under the relentless Thistlecrack pace; in 2015 all 16 completed the course. We think this will be run slightly easier than last year, but expect a couple of the rank outsiders to struggle so think there’ll be fewer and so we’ll play the favourite.
Pinsticker verdict: 2 (x1)
Q8: What will the distance between the winner and the last horse to finish be?
Last year combined distance was 45¾ lengths with 8 finishers. In 2015 with 16 horses completing the total distance was 56¼ lengths. This is a dart but we’ll aim around the 50 mark.
Pinsticker verdict: 51