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Flooring Porter takes on nine in Stayers’ Hurdle defence

Last year’s hero Flooring Porter is one of three previous winners in a field of 10 of the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham on Thursday.

Gavin Cromwell’s seven-year-old is winless since making all the running in front of an empty grandstand 12 months ago but is likely to go off favourite to defend his crown.

Emma Lavelle’s Paisley Park will surely raise the roof should he regain the title he last won in 2019.

His best days were seemingly behind him when he was beaten three times earlier in the season, but he produced a remarkable performance last time out in the Cleeve Hurdle.

Having whipped round at the start, he lost many lengths but was still able to get back into contention and win.

Lisnagar Oscar was a 50-1 winner in 2020 for Rebecca Curtis and was running well in the race last year when falling. This year his jockey Adam Wedge is sporting blue and yellow silks in support of Ukraine.

A major fancy for Willie Mullins is Klassical Dream, a Cheltenham Festival winner in the Supreme in 2019.

He was off for almost 500 days before returning to win at Punchestown last season and was also successful at Leopardstown over Christmas, but he was surprisingly beaten in the Galmoy Hurdle when last seen.

Champ beat Thyme Hill in the Long Walk Hurdle
Champ beat Thyme Hill in the Long Walk Hurdle (Nigel French/PA)

Nicky Henderson’s Champ won the Long Walk on his return to hurdles but was behind Paisley Park after that in the Cleeve, while Philip Hobbs’ Thyme Hill is another with top-class form to his name.

Peter Fahey’s Royal Kahala, winner of the Galmoy, runs in this in preference to the Mares’ Hurdle.

Home By The Lee, Koshari and Song For Someone complete the field.

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