There’s nothing more guaranteed to get racing fans talking than making a list of Cheltenham greats. There have been some brilliant winners of the Stayers’ Hurdle since 2000 and a top-class panel of Nick Luck, AP McCoy and Nigel Twiston-Davies came up with their favourite five.
In case you can’t see your favourite in the Top 5, watch the full video to see why Nick, AP and Nigel left them off the list. Former winner and one of this year’s favourites, Paisley Park, was considered but did not seal a spot, while More Of That, Baracouda, Inglis Drever and Big Buck’s all made the final cut.
Here is the countdown…
In 5th place – More Of That The 2014 winner caused something of a shock when seeing off Annie Power — and AP who picked the wrong JP McManus runner in At Fishers Cross. It seems like AP is still smarting about it. He said: “I put More Of That in there because it’s quite depressing to think I didn’t ride him and he beat me! But he beat Annie Power giving her the weight and on the day I thought it was a brilliant performance.”
In 4th place – Thistlecrack Thistlecrack has just retired after a glittering career and the whole panel agreed the 2016 winner deserves his place on this list. Twiston-Davies is a big fan: “He looked superb on the day he won the Stayers’ Hurdle — you just couldn’t fault him.”
In 3rd place – Baracouda The second JP McManus-owned champion was just pipped for second place by Inglis Drever. His 2002 and 2003 wins will live long in the memory. McCoy thinks he deserves his place for the way he kept coming back to Cheltenham: “He beat Iris’s Gift one year, was second to him another time and Inglis Drever then beat him.”
In 2nd place – Inglis Drever The panel found it very hard to split numbers two and three. Nick thinks there was little between them. But Twiston-Davies just made him his runner-up. He said: “In the end Inglis Drever won more.”
The winner – Big Buck’s There’s no hiding AP’d admiration for Paul Nicholls’ hurdler who won four in a row from 2009. He said: “He was never visually that impressive but he just kept winning. It didn’t matter which horse came each year to take them on, he ditched them all. As a staying hurdler, there were no chinks — he had it all.”