THE LONG WALK HURDLE: Full Race Preview, Trends & Tip here...

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Today's Feature Race: 

JLT Long Walk Hurdle - 14.25 Ascot

The Long Walk Hurdle is a Grade 1 hurdle run over 3miles 1 at Ascot.

Has been a good yardstick in recent years towards the World Hurdle in March.

This has mainly been due to Big Bucks winning this in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Recent Trends

The last 10 winners had come in the first 3 last time out.

All 10 also had at least 1 run under their belt, with this being within 40 days.

9 had won at 2miles 5 or further.

The last 10 winners were French bred. 5 of these being Big Bucks and the winner over the last 2 years Reve De Sivola.

6 of the last 10 winners were sent off favourite, 8 winners were 9/2 or shorter.

The Contenders

Zarkandar

The 2011 Triumph hurdle winner oozes class. It has looked like the longer distance would suit him, and he's coming into his own as he competes over the distance.

Really proved his credentials when seeing off Gemix by 5 lengths in Auteuil on November the first.

Medinas

Stormed clear in the long walk hurdle to beat Cole Harden by 7 lengths. Looked really impressive.

His win was somewhat overshadowed by More Of That's poor performance, but it was a striking display and showed he was improving.

Reve De Sivola

Winner of this over the last 2 years and looking to match Big Bucks' record in this. 

Can be very hit and miss but obviously loves the race and should run a big race as he always does.

Aubusson

Winner of the fixed brush handicap hurdle at Haydock on the 22nd of November. This is a huge step up from a handicap to Grade 1 company.

Showed lots of ability though and with there being a small field, can't be totally ruled out.

Dell' Arca

Winner of the 2013 Greatwood Hurdle on his first start on these shores, but he seems to have lost his way.

The outsider here and if running above his ability has a chance.

Conclusion.

It would be great for Lizzie Kelly on Aubusson to have a Grade 1 win. The horse will fight for her as she seems to have a great rapport with him, but I think it's a huge jump to this standard.

Reve De Sivola is an ok price, but after watching him last time out I'm going to go against him matching Big Bucks' record. I haven't seen enough to think Dell' Arca can cause an upset.

Which leaves me with two. Zarkandar and Medinas.

Both were excellent last time out, but for me the winner will be Zarkandar.

Paul Nicholls loves the race and I think he has the best horse in this race.

Zarkandar win @11/8 Bet365

Good luck!

Regards

Mark
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