Cheltenham Ante-Post Tips 2024: Chance Sir Gerhard for wide-open Stayers’ Hurdle

 | December 12 | 

4 mins read

Cheltenham racecourse

It's almost Christmas - a time for giving, but also a time when Cheltenham Festival prospects go on trial.

I'm hoping 20/1 about this three-time Grade 1 winner, who I fancy will run over the festive period, proves a gift come March.

Cheltenham Ante-Post Tips 2024

  • Sir Gerhard @ 20/1 for the Stayers' Hurdle

The Stayers' Hurdle is a race I've been eyeing up for weeks now. It's very open, with so few contenders - at least at present.

I'm a big fan of current antepost favourite Teahupoo, who looks set to go straight to Cheltenham off the back of yet another giant killing - this time of the Ballymore hero Impaire Et Passe - in the Hatton's Grace at Fairyhouse earlier this month.

Gordon Elliott's six-year-old currently sets the standard and it should be no surprise to anyone if he makes amends for 'only' managing third last season. That being said, he's hardly a bombproof favourite, is he?

Teahupoo's slightly below-par performances in the spring are fresh enough in the memory and I think it's fair to say he needs soft ground, which can't be guaranteed come that Thursday in March, to be at his very best.

The same could be said for French superstar Theleme, who to date has never competed on anything better than 'very soft'. He also has questions to answer regarding doing it outside of France, over a different style of hurdles.

Then who are we looking at? Marie's Rock is uninspiring to say the least after her disappointment in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury the other week. Robcour-owned Irish Point rates an unlikely runner, given the presence of Teahupoo and trainer comments. Sire Du Berlais will be 12 and surely can't repeat last season's triumph (right?). Similar sentiments apply to former champ Paisley Park and Dashel Drasher.

One man yet to play his hand in the Stayers' Hurdle division is Willie Mullins, no less, who doesn't appear to have an obvious candidate... yet.

Enter two-time Cheltenham Festival winner Sir Gerhard.

It must be odds-on that the eight-year-old, who won the Champion Bumper in 2021 and then the Ballymore the following year, re-routes back over hurdles after failing to impress over fences to date.

"I have a feeling we might be changing tack during the season and if his jumping doesn't hold up he's one I have earmarked as a Stayers' Hurdle horse.

Willie Mullins on Sir Gerhard

Those quotes were before his seasonal reappearance in the G3 Barberstown Castle Chase at Naas in mid-November, when he fell two out. Surely that made the decision for connections, who already have plenty of ammunition for the open chases.

I expect Sir Gerhard to take up his entry in the Jack de Bromhead Christmas Hurdle over three miles at Leopardstown on December 28, which on its own will probably see the selection's price for the Stayers' Hurdle slashed - hence why I'm taking 20/1 about him now.

That's not the only rationale, of course. I think he's up to winning a race like the Stayers' which, as I've already mentioned, lacks depth.

His ability - away from Punchestown which he seems to hate - isn't in doubt. Not for me anyway. Even the last day, he was travelling with plenty of zest before his fall. I just don't think he's cut out for jumping fences.

I'm sure many of you reading this will be asking the question: will he stay?

Obviously, I'm in no position to provide guarantees on that front, but I strongly suspect he will - as does his trainer, who I suppose knows a thing or two about this game.

For me, his Ballymore victory remains the biggest indicator that he will get the trip.

It was very testing ground that day and, as you can see from the clip above, he stayed on very strongly to pull clear of the late Three Stripe Life, who I always rated as a top-class individual.

Hopefully we get our answer in a couple of weeks - and hopefully it's the answer I want and we'll be sitting on a lovely ticket for one of my favourite races of the Cheltenham Festival.

Sir Gerhard to win the Stayers' Hurdle at 20/1

Stay tuned to Betfred Insights for more Cheltenham Tips as we build-up to the 2024 Festival

Share Article

(Visited 412 times, 1 visits today)