Long Walk Hurdle Guide 2021

Ascot - December 18 2021
Ascot 14:25
1
NON-RUNNER

Buzz

J:
 
NON-RUNNER
T:
 
Nicky Henderson
Age: 7
Weight: 11-7
OR: 155
Days: 28

The seven year old is starting to turn into the horse the Seven Barrows yard thought he could become and now looks a big player for the Stayers' Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival.

Having been a superb winner of the Cesarewitch at Newmarket and before that, last season finishing second in the Grade One Aintree Hurdle, he has always been a smart horse.

But now stepping up to more staying trips this term, Buzz was a superb winner at Ascot in the Grade Two Coral Hurdle and this race was set as the target straight away.

He looks like a horse that is crying out for this trip and still only seven, there looks more improvement to come throughout the season.

This is his toughest test to date but should go close.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
20/11/21ASC19.5Gd11-01
09/10/21NMK18Gd8-131
08/04/21AIN20GS11-72
21/02/21NBY16.5GS11-75
19/12/20ASC15.5Hy11-122
Ascot - December 18 2021
Ascot 14:25
9
Tom O'Brien

Thyme Hill

J:
 
Tom O'Brien
T:
 
Philip Hobbs
Age: 7
Weight: 11-7
OR: 160
Days: 42

Thyme Hill over the last two years has installed himself as one of the best British Staying hurdlers in the sport and on Saturday he will be looking to truly show that.

After finishing a superb fourth in Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle and before that winning the Challow Hurdle, many people were excited to see him in open company.

Last term he stayed over hurdles and was exceptional on all three starts, winning the Grade Two Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury, before being chinned on the line by Paisley Park in this race last term.

He rounded off the season by getting back to winning ways in the Grade One Ryanair Stayers Hurdle at the Grand National meeting.

Back for another term over hurdles at the start of November he was sent over to France for the Grade One Grand Prix d'Automne and in heavy ground he finished a weak fifth of seven, nearly 42 lengths behind the winner.

Everything went wrong for the gelding and that can certainly be put behind him with the ground for his first run back being the opposite of what he wants.

He has been saved for this race since then and said to be fit and ready he could take all the beating.

Ascot - December 18 2021
Ascot 14:25
6
Keith Donoghue

Ronald Pump

J:
 
Keith Donoghue
T:
 
Matthew J Smith
Age: 8
Weight: 11-7
OR: 157
Days: 20

Having spent the 2019/20 season bouncing between hurdles and fences, his form over the smaller obstacles has been quite progressive and ever since January 2020 has plied his trade over flights.

He ended that season giving a career best performance when finishing a narrow second in the Grade One Stayers' Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival behind Lisnagar Oscar.

Back last term at Navan he fell on seasonal debut when mounting a challenge in the Grade Two Lismullen Hurdle, but bounced back immediately at Fairyhouse when a very close second to Honeysuckle in the Grade One Hatton's Grace Hurdle.

Having picked up an injury after that race he returned for the Punchestown festival when a good third behind Klassical Dream in the Grade One Champion Stayers' Hurdle.

Looking to land a big pot in May he headed over to France for the Grande Course de Haies d'Auteuil, but the extremely soft ground ruined his chances.

Saved for this term, he was seen finishing second again behind the super-mare Honeysuckle in the Hatton's Grace Hurdle and that offers some serious form going back up in trip.

Chance.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
13/03/22NAA24.5Hy10-82
22/02/22NAV21Hy11-35
28/12/21LEO24Sft11-127
18/12/21ASC24.5GS11-75
28/11/21FAI20Gd11-122
Ascot - December 18 2021
Ascot 14:25
2
Jonjo O'Neill Jr

Champ

J:
 
Jonjo O'Neill Jr
T:
 
Nicky Henderson
Age: 9
Weight: 11-7
OR: 155
Days: 274

The superstar Champ pulled off the performance of the 2020 Cheltenham festival when jumping the last in the RSA well behind the two tiring leaders but managing to fly up the hill, staying the best of the field and just getting up on the line to land the Grade One.

Before that race he lost his unbeaten record over fences when falling two out at Cheltenham on New Year's Day, but at the festival he put everything right and looks to be a hell of a staying horse.

Messed around last term he was only seen twice over fences, having a prep run over two miles in the Grade Two Game Spirit Chase, before heading back to Cheltenham for the Gold Cup and with everything going wrong he was pulled up.

As a hurdler Champ was exceptional winning the Grade One Challow Hurdle, Grade One Sefton Novices' Hurdle and then finishing a narrow second in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham.

He is entered in the Stayers' Hurdle at the festival in March so he could be staying over hurdles this season, and being anything like his former self, really does make him a player in this but he looks a risky bet.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
09/04/22AIN24.5GS11-73
17/03/22CHL24Sft11-104
29/01/22CHL24Gd11-62
18/12/21ASC24.5GS11-71
19/03/21CHL26.5GS11-10PU
Ascot - December 18 2021
Ascot 14:25
8
Fergus Gregory

Thomas Darby

J:
 
Fergus Gregory
T:
 
Olly Murphy
Age: 8
Weight: 11-7
OR: 155
Days: 22

A horse who was tried over fences at the early part of last season but unfortunately that didn’t work out, Olly Murphy was quick to revert him back over to the smaller obstacles where he clearly shows his best form.

He is a three-time winner over hurdles with a Grade Three win to his name in January last year at Ascot but after that went on a six race streak of not winning.

In that time he was seen giving his best effort at Aintree in April when a good third behind Thyme Hill and Roksana and on that form has it all to do.

However, this term he has looked a different animal, needing his first run at Wetherby before last time out taking the Grade Two Long Distance Hurdle and on that form is a player.

Each way player.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
19/02/22HAY24.5Hy11-10PU
18/12/21ASC24.5GS11-74
26/11/21NBY24GS11-01
30/10/21WET24GS11-04
10/04/21AIN24.5GS11-73
Ascot - December 18 2021
Ascot 14:25
5
Tom Bellamy

Paisley Park

J:
 
Tom Bellamy
T:
 
Emma Lavelle
Age: 9
Weight: 11-7
OR: 158
Days: 22

Cheltenham Festival heroine in 2019 and the leading staying hurdler that season, who went seven races unbeaten in the 2018/19 season for the great owner Andrew Gemmell is looking to get back to form and win this coming Friday in a race that he won back in 2019.

He has been a mixed bag recently since his Cleeve Hurdle win in January 2020, running six times and only winning once in the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot in December 2020.

He showed his true staying powers to just prevail ahead of Thyme Hill, but did slightly disappoint in the Stayers Hurdle at the Festival in 2021 and pulling up at Aintree in April after a few issues which were reported from the trainer.

He had a good comeback run at Wetherby in October, finishing third out of eight runners only beaten by just over four lengths.

The rider said he needed the run to blow the cobwebs away and was a bit flatter than usual (He usually does hit a few flat spots in the race) but this was slightly more than usual.

Looking to put things right in the Grade Two Long Distance Hurdle, he again was below par back in third and has a lot to do to get back to his best.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
28/04/22PUN23.5Gd/Y11-105
17/03/22CHL24Sft11-103
29/01/22CHL24Gd11-61
18/12/21ASC24.5GS11-73
26/11/21NBY24GS11-63
Ascot - December 18 2021
Ascot 14:25
4
Nico de Boinville

On The Blind Side

J:
 
Nico de Boinville
T:
 
Nicky Henderson
Age: 9
Weight: 11-7
OR: 150
Days: 22

On The Blind Side for Nicky Henderson has really turned his career around with some superb performances over the klast few years.

Having been tried over fences, hurdles and on the flat two seasons ago, Henderson stuck with flights last term and he made a bright start to the campaign.

He went to Cheltenham on last year's seasonal debut in November for the Listed Handicap Hurdle and beat a decent field of runners over three miles.

He then headed back over the same course and distance last time out and the extra weight told being beat into second by the well handicapped Come On Teddy.

Dropped slightly in trip but upped in Grade, he was sent to Kempton in the Grade Two Relkeel Hurdle and finished a superb second behind bright spark McFabulous.

Quickly turned around, he went to Market Rasen just a week later and going back up to three mile made the difference and saw him land a decent hurdle event.

Being in fine form he headed to Haydock last time out for the Grade Two Rendlesham Hurdle and although only finishing third.

Looking to stay on an upward curve he went to Aintree for the Ryanair Stayers' Hurdle and finished a fair sixth of 15.

He tried to finish his season off with a win at Sandown but it looked as though all the runs caught up with him.

Given a good break heading into this term he returned last time out at Newbury in the Long Distance Hurdle finishing second to Thomas Darby and although running well he might find a few too good.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
01/01/22CHL20.5Sft11-4PU
18/12/21ASC24.5GS11-76
26/11/21NBY24GS11-42
24/04/21SAN21.5Gd11-45
10/04/21AIN24.5GS11-76
Ascot - December 18 2021
Ascot 14:25
7
Charlie Deutsch

Third Wind

J:
 
Charlie Deutsch
T:
 
Hughie Morrison
Age: 7
Weight: 11-7
OR: 149
Days: 252

The seven year old has mainly ran over hurdles all his life, showing he enjoys a staying contest and on the premises of his form needs slightly more than usual.

Having finished a good fourth at the 2020 Cheltenham festival in the Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle, He made a fair seasonal debut at Newbury last term in November finishing fifth in a Pertemps Qualifier.

Four starts ago he gave one of his best performances to date when a narrow second to Main Fact at Haydock and although that looks smart form, he could not back it up next time out.

He went into this race last year and finished a tame fifth behind Paisley Park, Thyme Hilll and Roksana.

He stepped out of his handicap shell next time out to give a career best performance at land the Grade Two Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock.

It was a superb win for the horse, but he will needed to step up again going into Grade One company for his final run of last term and he was ultimately pulled up at Aintree.

Needs a miracle in this field on seasonal debut.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
17/03/22CHL24Sft10-111
19/02/22HAY24.5Hy11-103
15/01/22WAR25Sft11-03
18/12/21ASC24.5GS11-77
10/04/21AIN24.5GS11-7PU
Ascot - December 18 2021
Ascot 14:25
3
Adam Wedge

Lisnagar Oscar

J:
 
Adam Wedge
T:
 
Rebecca Curtis
Age: 8
Weight: 11-7
OR: 150
Days: 22

Rebecca Curtis tasted her biggest victory as a trainer when eight year old Lisnagar Oscar shocked the racing world when landing the Grade One Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham 2020 at a massive 50/1. 

Since then he failed to make waves as a chaser so had to revert back to hurdles. 

It seemingly took him a few runs to get his confidence back over timber and ultimately has never got back to the same form as his Cheltenham festival win.

Having been poor last term, he has been twice this season, finishing third of six at Aintree behind Brewin'upastorm and then last time out he was well beaten in the Grade Two Long Distance Hurdle.

Opposable.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
13/04/22CHL24Gd11-9PU
17/03/22CHL24Sft11-10PU
29/01/22CHL24Gd11-03
18/12/21ASC24.5GS11-7PU
26/11/21NBY24GS11-05

James Mackie

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