Liverpool Hurdle

The Liverpool Hurdle is a Grade 1 race over an extended three miles which takes place at Aintree on Grand National day.

The race is a prime target for horses that contested the Stayers Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Big Buck’s won the race for a record four consecutive seasons between 2009 and 2012. Other notable winners include Mighty Man (2006, 2007), Whisper (2014, 2015) and Thistlecrack (2016).

Find out more about the Liverpool Hurdle:

Race Overview

To come.

Famous Liverpool Hurdle Winners

The Liverpool Hurdle was first run as the Long Distance Hurdle at Ascot in 1974. It was transferred and renamed in 2004 and was promoted to Grade 1 status six years’ later.

The first running held at Aintree was won by Iris’s Gift, trained by Jonjo O’Neill and ridden by Barry Geraghty.

Mighty Man (2006, 2007) became the first dual winner of the race under its new title, trained by Henry Daly and ridden by Richard Johnson. His achievement would be matched by Nicky Henderson’s Whisper in 2014 and 2015 but the dominance of Big Buck’s (2009-2012) made him the undisputed leading staying hurdler of all time.

The exciting import had been trained with a career over fences in mind by Paul Nicholls, running in novice events at the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals in 2008. Although beaten in both races he was strongly fancied for the Hennessy Gold Cup the following season but unseated his rider.

Nicholls decided to switch him back to hurdling and a victory at Cheltenham set him on course for the Stayers Hurdle (then the World Hurdle). A victory there was followed with his first win in the Liverpool Hurdle, defeating reigning champion Mighty Man.

Big Buck’s never looked back from there and completely dominated the staying hurdles division. He won four Stayers Hurdles, four Liverpool Hurdles, four Long Distance Hurdles (Newbury) and three Long Walk Hurdles (Ascot). His career earnings were over £1.27million with 23 victories from 40 starts.

The only horse since Big Buck’s to follow up the Stayers Hurdle with a win in the Liverpool Hurdle was Thistlecrack in 2016.

The 2021 renewal saw Thyme Hill gain handsome consolation for being forced to miss Cheltenham due to a minor setback.

Key Liverpool Hurdle Trials

Seven of the last twelve winners ran in the Stayers Hurdle at Cheltenham on their previous start.

Six of them had won, although that figure does include the four victories of Big Buck’s. Solwhit (2013) and Thistlecrack (2016) also completed the big Cheltenham – Aintree Stayers Hurdle double.

Identity Thief (2018) was the only Liverpool Hurdle winner to run again that season. He went to Punchestown for the Punchestown Champion Stayers Hurdle but could finish only fourth.

Big Buck’s and Whisper returned to repeat victories in the Liverpool Hurdle but Alan King’s Yanworth was beaten in 2018 after a spell over fences.

Liverpool Hurdle Betting Trends

Favourites have a solid record in the Liverpool Hurdle, winning eight of the last twelve renewals.

Big Buck’s (2009 – 2012) started favourite for all four of his victories and was as short as 2-9 for his fourth and final success.

Solwhit (2013), Thistlecrack (2016), Yanworth (2017) and Thyme Hill also returned winning favourites in this event.

Of the remaining winners in the past dozen seasons, only 14-1 outsider Identity Thief (2018) was not in the first three in the betting.

Horses aged six to eight have won the last seven runnings following successive nine-year-olds (Big Buck’s and Solwhit).

Deano’s Beeno (2003) is the oldest winner at the age of 11, although both his and the second victory of Gaye Brief (aged 11 in 1988) took place at Ascot.

The last five-year-old to win the Liverpool Hurdle was Galant Moss for Martin Pipe and Tony McCoy in 1999.

Class usually comes to the fore here with nine of the last eleven winners having at least one previous victory at Grade 1 level.

All eleven had at least one victory at Grade 1-3 level.

An official rating of 163 or higher is usually required to win this race, although both Identity Thief (153 in 2018) and If The Cap Fits (152 in 2019) fell considerably short of that mark.

The highest-rated winners were Big Buck’s and Thistlecrack on 174.

Liverpool Hurdle – Top Trainers and Jockeys

Martin Pipe still holds the record for most wins in the race with five, although all were achieved under the former title at Ascot. They were Pragada (1992), Sweet Glow (1994), Galant Moss (1999), Maid Equal (2001) and Deano’s Beeno (2003).

In more recent years the four successive victories of Big Buck’s stand out for Paul Nicholls.

It is a similar picture in the jockey’s standings with Peter Scudamore having ridden five winners of the race prior well before the switch to Liverpool; Gaye Chance (1982), Bajan Sunshine (1985), Gaye Brief (1986), Mrs Muck (1987) and Pragada (1992).

Ruby Walsh was in the saddle for all four of Big Buck’s victories and Barry Geraghty rode the winner three times, the last occasion aboard Yanworth in 2017.

Betting on the Liverpool Hurdle

The Liverpool Hurdle invariably follows the form book and the favourites have an outstanding record in this event.

The Stayers Hurdle at Cheltenham has become more competitive since the retirement of Big Buck’s but that race still holds a big influence over the outcome here.

It is not usually a race to look for a shock result and the betting is often a reliable guide to the outcome.


To come.

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