Long Walk Hurdle Betting Tips, Stats & History

We head to the Berkshire venue of Ascot this coming Saturday for a big pre-Christmas Grade 1, as the track lays on the 2018 edition of the race most commonly known as The Long Walk Hurdle. An excellent event in its own right, this contest also provides plenty of pointers when looking ahead to the major staying races still to come.

Race Info

3m½f is the trip for this Grade 1 contest, set to be run on soft ground this year and offering £100,000 in total prize money.

GoingDistanceGradePrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Soft 3m½f Grade 1 £100,000 11 Runners 1/5 1-3

Long Walk Hurdle Betting Tips

Ascot, 14:25, Saturday 22nd December 2018

This has been a pretty good race for the market leader of late, with six winning favourites in the past decade. Three of these were short odds-on victories for the brilliant Big Buck’s though, resulting in a level stakes profit for backers of the jolly of only just over 3pts.

Nine of the past 10 winners have fallen into the five to eight age bracket. A trend which fits with the overall record of this race, with just six of the 44 total winners to date falling outside of this range.

We look set for another enthralling renewal this year, with the current field including the past two winners of the race, solid proven performers in this sphere, and a couple of highly promising newcomers to the staying hurdle scene.

Harry Knows What It Means To Win Here

Now being a 10 year old, the Harry Fry runner, Unowhatimeanharry would appear to have work to do on the trends. He is nevertheless an extremely smart performer on his day and has shown he has what it takes to claim gold in this race before. An impressive winner here in 2016, he could manage only an 11-length third when bidding to follow up 12 months ago. Was that a sign that father time is beginning to catch up with him? Or was he simply not quite right last season? We will likely find out here. He does arrive in good form having landed the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury last time out.

Henderson To Lord It Over Rivals?

Current favourite for the race is a horse yet to run at a trip in excess of 2m5½f. The price of the Nicky Henderson trained runner Call Me Lord may therefore look a little on the short side when we consider he is stepping up fully 3f in trip here. The evidence we have at hand would however suggest that the greater emphasis on stamina may well suit. Beaten twice in Graded contests at around two miles at the backend of last season, he was then stepped up to 2m5½f for his final start in a Grade 2 at Sandown. This son of Slickly responded by destroying a field including the talented Lil Rockerfeller by 16 lengths.

Agra Looks The Part

Another not without a chance is the Nick Williams contender, Agrapart. This one seems to have been around for a while now, but is still only seven years old and we may not have seen the best of him as a stayer just yet. The winner of the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham back in January, he stays this trip well enough and ran a most encouraging race when not beaten far over 2m4f on ground faster than ideal at Aintree on his seasonal return. Back up to 3m and on softer ground, he’s in with a fair each way shout.

Final Verdict: Call Me Lord to win

Unowhatimeanharry is an admirable and classy performer, but may just find father time against him here. Agrapart meanwhile looks solid enough, but has flopped in his two previous attempts in Grade 1 company.

We will be siding with potential here and backing the Henderson runner, Call Me Lord. Looking better the further he went last time out, this trip may bring out more, and as the youngster in the field, he is the one open to the most improvement.

Recent Winners

YearWinnerSPTrainerJockey
2018 Paisley Park 8/1 Emma Lavelle Aidan Coleman
2017 Sam Spinner 9/2 Jedd O’Keefe Joe Colliver
2016 Unowhatimeanharry 6/5 Harry Fry Barry Geraghty
2015 Thistlecrack 2/1 Colin Tizzard Tom Scudamore
2014 Reve De Sivola 13/2 Nick Williams Daryl Jacob
2013 Reve De Sivola 9/4 Nick Williams Richard Johnson
2012 Reve De Silvola 9/2 Nick Williams Richard Johnson
2011 Big Buck's 30/100 Paul Nicholls Ruby Walsh
2010* Big Buck's 2/13 Paul Nicholls A P McCoy
2009** Big Buck's 1/2 Paul Nicholls Ruby Walsh

*2010 race run at Newbury on the 29th December due to snow at Ascot.

**2009 race also run at Newbury on the 29th December due to snow at Ascot.

About The Long Walk Hurdle

Ascot Racecourse Entrance

Christmas is a wonderful time in the horse racing calendar. The National Hunt season is in full swing by the time the festive season rolls around and most of the leading stars of the various divisions have already made their seasonal reappearance.

That is almost always the case with those towards the top of the betting for the Long Walk Hurdle. This Grade 1 contest is among the most highly coveted and prestigious long distance hurdles of the year and it is very rare for a winner to be coming off a long break. Run over 3 miles on the Hunt course at Ascot Racecourse, this is a main target of any UK or Irish based trainer who has a top class staying hurdler in their yard.

A Race for Long Distance Specialists

It’s not just trainers who look forward to the Long Walk Hurdle. As long distance hurdling is something of a speciality you tend to find the same horses competing against each other, especially in these sort of quality contests. That renewing of hostilities provides ready-made storylines and angles to examine in the build-up.

Major Stayers' Hurdle Winners: Last 3 Seasons

Race2018/19 Season2017/18 Season2016/17 Season
West Yorkshire Hurdle (Wetherby) Nautical Nitwit Colin's Sister Silsol
Betfair Stayers' Hurdle (Haydock) Paisley Park Sam Spinner Kruzhlinin
Long Distance Hurdle (Newbury) Unowhatimeanharry Beer Googles Unowhatimeanharry
Long Walk Hurdle (Ascot) Paisley Park Sam Spinner Unowhatimeanharry
Cleeve Hurdle (Cheltenham) Paisley Park Agrapart Unowhatimeanharry
Rendlesham Hurdle (Haydock) Shades Of Midnight Donna's Diamond Zarkandar
Stayers' Hurdle (Cheltenham) Paisley Park Penhill Nichols Canyon
Liverpool Hurdle (Aintree) If The Cap Fits Identity Thief Yanworth
Select Hurdle (Sandown) Younevercall Call Me Lord L'Ami Serge

Lead-Up Races

There are a few routes that horses tend to take coming into the Long Walk Hurdle. The Grade 3 Betfair Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle and the Grade 2 Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle are important tests whilst the Coral Hurdle in November gives trainers the chance to see how their charges get on at Ascot. Although winning form at Ascot isn’t the most important stat to consider, any previous course form is very much a positive as it is a testing track which does not suit every horse.

Chart Showing What Long Walk Hurdle Winner's Previous Race Was Between 1999 and 2018

Cheltenham's Stayers Hurdle the Target

When the Long Walk Hurdle is in the books for another year it’s time for connections of those who contended in the final stages to look on to the huge long distance hurdle races still to come. The obvious target is the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham. In fact, many trainers will bid to keep their leading charges fresh by avoiding the temptation to run them between their Ascot outing and the Cheltenham Festival.

It’s worth noting that the form from the Long Walk Hurdle hasn’t been particularly valuable for punters looking for a Stayers’ Hurdle bet. It takes a truly high class staying hurdler to win at both Ascot and Cheltenham.

The list of horses who have achieved that double includes Big Buck’s who won the Long Walk Hurdle four years in a row between 2009 and 2012 and followed up three of those wins with victories in the Stayers’ Hurdle. Barracouda, whose four wins make him the most successful horse in the history of the Long Walk Hurdle, also completed the highly impressive double.

Dual Long Walk and Cheltenham Stayers' Hurdle Winners

HorseTrainerLong Walk Hurdle WinsStayers' Hurdle Wins
Paisley Park Emma Lavelle 2018 2019
Thistlecrack Colin Tizzard 2015 2016
Big Buck's Paul Nicholls 2009, 2010, 2011 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
My Way De Solzen Alan King 2005 2006
Baracuda Francois Doumen 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004 2002, 2003
Anzum A. King / D. Nicholson 1999 1999
Princeful Jenny Pitman 1998 1998
Crimson Embers Fulke Walwyn 1983 1982, 1986
Derring Rose Fred Winter 1980 1981
Highland Abbe Les Kennard 1972 1974

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