A look at the favourites for the 2023 Liverpool HurdleBy Angelica Malin
As the Grand National Festival at Aintree draws near, all horse racing fans will be looking forward to one of the biggest weekends on the calendar. While the showpiece on Saturday will inevitably take centre stage, Friday’s list of races still carries its fair share of prestige, and with locals packing out the grandstands for the second successive year following two editions behind closed doors, anticipation will build for the Liverpool Hurdle as well.
First run in 1974, the Liverpool Hurdle has since become one of the most prestigious races on the agenda at the Grand National Festival, attracting the very best hurdlers from around the world.
Those assessing the antepost odds for Liverpool Hurdle will be interested to see if Sire Du Berlais can retain his title for Gordon Elliott, with the Irishman looking to add to his impressive record in Merseyside. It’s a race that can stand a horse in good stead for future victories, with several Cheltenham champions taking part as well as future Grand National winners.
Indeed, some of the greatest names in the history of National Hunt racing have tasted success in the race, including triple winner Big Buck’s, who dominated the race from 2009 to 2011, and the legendary Istabraq, who won it twice in 1998 and 1999. More recently, the likes of Paisley Park and Thistlecrack have added their names to Aintree folklore.
As we prepare for this year’s Grand National Festival, lets take a look at some of the favourites for this year’s Liverpool Hurdle.
Sire Du Berlais
Starting with the most recent winner, Sire Du Berlais is in great form after the Stayers’ Hurdle win at Cheltenham. Elliott confirmed he would be racing to defend his title and is unbeaten with Mark Walsh as his jockey, meaning members of his team like JP McManus and Frank Berry are confident. “It was a fantastic result,” Berry said after the win at Prestbury Park. “He was in great form and all credit to Gordon Elliott and his team.
“He has come out of the race good and the plan is now to go to Aintree.”
Another from the Cullentra House stables, Teahupoo comes into the Liverpool Hurdle with odds of 9/2. The six-year-old came third in the Stayers’ Hurdle and after winning the John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle at Gowan Park will be full of confidence in terms of securing victory at Aintree, and it could be an Elliott one-two if either Teahupoo or Sire Du Berlais are at their best.
Second in last year’s race, Flooring Porter has had a difficult time of things lately, and just can’t seem to get the edge on Sire Du Berlais. The Elliott-trained horse prevented Flooring Porter from a third successive Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, and after failing to win his last four races now you expect a reaction from Gavin Cromwell. The eight-year-old has far too much experience to not be in contention and after coming close last year there’s every chance he can put things right at Aintree and get another winning run going again.