The Ladbrokes World Hurdle factfile for one of the youngest races at The Festival, known as the Stayers Hurdle up to and including 2004, it was only introduced with its current race conditions in 1972. Before that, it was known as the Spa Hurdle. The Ladbrokes World Hurdle has been run on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of the meeting. It moved to its current Thursday slot in 1993. Its first year of sponsorship was 1972, under the title of the Lloyds Bank Hurdle. There have been four sponsors of the race, Waterford Crystal from 1978 to 1990 and Bonusprint from 1991 to 2004. 2005 was the first year of Ladbrokes' sponsorship and prize money currently stands at 250,000.
The Ladbrokes World Hurdle used to be a favourite with the Irish, who have won it nine times, most recently in 1995 with Dorans Pride. Baracouda provided a first success for France in 2002 and followed up again in 2003. In 2004 and 2005, he was runner-up behind Iris's Gift and Inglis Drever respectively, while in 2006 he ran fifth behind My Way De Solzen. The late Fulke Walwyn is the only trainer to have won the contest more than twice. The race was dominated in the mid-eighties by Crimson Embers, trained by Walwyn, and the winner in 1982 and 1986. Indeed, Crimson Embers would have been awarded the race in the stewards' room in 1985 had his rider not declined to give evidence to the enquiry afterwards, but the trainer won the race anyway with Rose Ravine. The owner, Sally Smart, was ambivalent about the result - she owned both horses!
Gaye Chance, the winner in 1984, was a full-brother to the 1983 Champion Hurdle winner Gaye Brief. Both horses were trained by Mercy Rimell. No horse has managed to win both the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle and the Ladbrokes World Hurdle. A total of 10 favourites have been successful. The smallest field to go to post was eight in 1973 while the largest was 22 in both 1985 and 1990. 14 ran last year. There have been four dual winners - Crimson Embers (1982 & 1986), Galmoy (1987 & 1988), Baracouda (2002 & 2003) and Inglis Drever (2005 & 2007). No horse has won the race three times. Tommy Carberry, Stuart Shilston, Tommy Carmody, Mark Perrett, Charlie Swan, Jamie Osborne and Thierry Doumen are the most successful jockeys, each recording two victories. No current jockey has won the race more than once.