Long Walk Hurdle
14:25 Ascot, Saturday
Live on ITV4
2. Champ (Nicky Henderson/Jonjo O’Neill Jr)
Remarkable winner of the RSA Chase in 2020 but he jumped badly before being pulled up early in the Gold Cup there when last seen out in March. Returns over hurdles, but he’s a highly talented individual, and is no forlorn hope.
3. Lisnagar Oscar (Rebecca Curtis/Adam Wedge)
Won the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in 2020, but he’s gone winless since, and came in tailed off in the Long Distance Hurdle won by Thomas Darby at Newbury last month. Has it all to prove now.
4. On The Blind Side (Nicky Henderson/James Bowen)
Smart hurdler who got right back on track when second to Thomas Darby in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury last month. More is needed here, however, for all his claims have been made easier by the withdrawal of stablmate Buzz.
5. Paisley Park (Emma Lavelle/Tom Bellamy)
Dual winner of this event in the past, but he’s yet to hit top form this term, and first-time cheekpieces seemingly didn’t help when only third to Thomas Darby in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury last month. Tongue tied now, but does have a little to prove.
6. Ronald Pump (Matthew J. Smith/Keith Donoghue)
Runner-up to Lisnagar Oscar in the 2020 Stayers’ Hurdle who got right back on track when second to Honeysuckle in the Hatton’s Grace at Fairyhouse (20f) 20 days ago. Irish raider is not ruled out now stepping back up in trip.
7. Third Wind (Hughie Morrison/Charlie Deutsch)
Looked a stayer on the up when taking the Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock only to be pulled up in the Aintree Stayers’ Hurdle in April. Back from eight months off now, though, and has a fair bit to find on form.
8. Thomas Darby (Olly Murphy/Fergus Gregory)
Has shown signs of a suspect attitude at times, but bounced back to his best in a first-time tongue tie when winning the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury by two and a quarter lengths from On The Blind Side last time. This demands another step forward, but sure to make his presence felt if in the same mood.
9. Thyme Hill (Philip Hobbs/Tom O’Brien)
Narrowly denied in this event 12 months ago before landing the Aintree Stayers’ Hurdle in April. Not at his best in an Auteuil Grade 1 on his return, but no surprise to see him take a big step forward here, and it would be folly to rule him out.