The old favourites of the staying game tackle the new kids on the block in the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday.
Paisley Park has won three of the last five renewals, Champ came out on top two years ago, while Dashel Drasher continues to be one of the most resilient horses in training after beating the former in a thrilling renewal of the Grade 1 Long Distance Hurdle earlier this month.
Lanzarote Hurdle heroine West Balboa spearheads the new bridge as she seeks a fourth-successive victory, while connections of last season’s EBF Final winner Crambo believe he is a graded horse in the making.
Botox Has took a big step forward to land the Grade 2 West Yorkshire Hurdle on seasonal reappearance and Red Risk was only 1l behind. Blueking D’Oroux, who receives a 1lb weight-for-age allowance, is unbeaten in two outings this season and also boasts Grade 2 honours after landing the Ascot Hurdle last time out.
Gowel Road and the enigmatic Goshen complete the field for Saturday’s 14:25.
The latest Long Walk Hurdle odds are on the Paddy Power website and Paddy Power app, otherwise Timeform’s guide to the runners as well as betting tips from the racing boffins can be found below.
Long Walk Hurdle verdict
Timeform: The staying hurdle ranks are pretty threadbare at the moment but if there’s an up-and-comer it could be in the shape of CRAMBO, who caught the eye with his fast-finishing third in a big-field handicap at Haydock 4 weeks ago and, with the services of experienced pilot Johnny Burke enlisted, Fergal O’Brien’s 6-y-o can make his second outing at the top table a winning one. Veterans Paisley Park (bidding for a fourth success in this), Dashel Drasher and the returning Champ head up the opposition.
*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change
Long Walk Hurdle runners and riders
The following horses have been declared for the Long Walk Hurdle 2023.
Trainer: Gary Moore Jockey: Caoilin Quinn Age: 7 Weight: 11st 7lbs
Landed valuable big-field 3m Haydock handicap hurdle last season and enhanced a good record fresh when adding a West Yorkshire Hurdle to his CV at Wetherby 7 weeks ago, edging ahead on the run-in and holding on gamely by a length from Red Risk. Cheekpieces back on.
Trainer: Nicky Henderson Jockey: Jonjo O’Neill Jr. Age: 11 Weight: 11st 7lbs
Very talented hurdler/chaser who dug deep to fend off Paisley Park on reappearance last term. Third to same rival in this corresponding event (held at Kempton) next time and disappointed at Aintree 8 months ago. Won this in 2021 and respected given positive record fresh (has had another wind op).
Trainer: Fergal O’Brien Jockey: Jonathan Burke Age: 6 Weight: 11st 7lbs
Dual bumper winner who took his hurdle record to 4-6 in 2½m Aintree handicap on reappearance in October. Left the impression that the handicapper still hasn’t got his measure when a fast-finishing third at Haydock (24.3f, good to soft) 4 weeks ago and he’s earnt a shot at this level.
Trainer: Jeremy Scott Jockey: Rex Dingle Age: 10 Weight: 11st 7lbs
Tough and likeable sort who ran stormers when second in the Relkeel, Cleeve and Stayers’ Hurdles (all Cheltenham) last season. Stepped up significantly on his reappearance run when narrowly denying Paisley Park in Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury earlier this month and this veteran needs considering.
Trainer: Gary Moore Jockey: Niall Houlihan Age: 7 Weight: 11st 7lbs
Quirky sort but he’s very smart at his best and took the Coral Hurdle at this track last November. Below form in his bid to defend his crown in that corresponding event last month and again failed to figure in rearranged Fighting Fifth at Sandown last time. Remains easily opposable.
Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies Jockey: Gavin Sheehan Age: 7 Weight: 11st 7lbs
Very useful hurdler in 2021/22. Easily won a small-field course handicap chase in October 2022 and having been off 13 months, did more than enough to believe his ability is intact when fourth in big-field handicap hurdle at Haydock (24.3f, good to soft) 4 weeks ago. Big outsider in this company.
Trainer: Emma Lavelle Jockey: Tom Bellamy Age: 11 Weight: 11st 7lbs
Gained a third win this last year (held at Kempton) and ran a cracker after 9 months off when going down by a head to Dashel Drasher in Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury earlier this month. He may be rising 12 but there’s every chance he can add a fourth Long Walk Hurdle to his collection.
Trainer: Paul Nicholls Jockey: Bryony Frost Age: 8 Weight: 11st 7lbs
Won twice back hurdling in 2022 and left his effort in France back in summer well behind when runner-up to Botox Has in West Yorkshire Hurdle at Wetherby 7 weeks ago. 1 of 2 for Paul Nicholls and likely to come up short at this level.
Trainer: Paul Nicholls Jockey: Harry Cobden Age: 4 Weight: 11st 6lbs
Returned with a cosy success in 2m novice at Cheltenham in October and posted a borderline smart effort when following up in a relatively weak field for the Coral Hurdle at this course (19.3f, good) 4 weeks ago. Tough ask having a first crack at 3m.
Trainer: Dan Skelton Jockey: Harry Skelton Age: 7 Weight: 11st 0lbs
Low-mileage mare who has yet to finish out of the first two. Signed off last season by landing a valuable big-field handicap upped to 24.7f at the Grand National meeting and picked up where she’d left off when landing 3-runner minor event there (20f, heavy) 6 weeks ago. Very interesting runner.
Saturday’s Racing Tips
- A 6/1 play leads Matt Chapman’s ITV Racing tips on Saturday at Haydock & Ascot
- Rory Delargy’s horse racing tips for Ascot & Haydock on Saturday
- Mick Fitzgerald’s ITV Racing tips for Saturday at Ascot & Haydock
- Gallop over to Paddy Power News for all the latest horse racing tips
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