The Weekend Winners team are back with a look at Saturday’s feature race, the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot, live on Sky Sports Racing.
Host Kate Tracey is joined by BetVictor’s Sam Boswell and Declan Rix of attheraces.com to pick out their best bets for the race, and they also look ahead to the King George VI Chase and Welsh Grand National over the festive period.
The Grade One Long Walk Hurdle over 3m 0.5f sees 10 runners go to post and provides a fascinating clash between the established veterans and some promising young stayers.
“We’ve got a pair of 11-year-olds in here in Champ and Paisley Park and a 10-year-old in Dashel Drasher, who I think would be a little bit vulnerable if the ground gets quicker and quicker.
“That trio are among the top five in the betting against Crambo and the mare West Balboa, but those two look very short in the betting to me, especially Crambo, so it looks like a race to have an each-way swing and I’m going to go with Red Risk at the prices.
“Only a short-head separated him and West Balboa in the Lanzarote back in January. He is 2lb worse off at the weights now, but he’s a much, much bigger price and I think the fact that he comes in here relatively fresh is a big positive.
“He’s ground versatile, he’s got a very good attitude. I’m hoping he will sharpen up for his recent run at Wetherby and I think the quickening ground will definitely suit him more than most of this field.”
“I’m going to contradict myself a little bit, the horse I want to back here I’m convinced will end up a bigger price and it is Crambo.
“He’s been put in on his potential. He’s obviously only raced once at the trip and anyone could see that run at Haydock, potentially he could have ended up a little closer to winning it and the third can be upgraded from what he achieved.
“Johnny Burke takes over, I’m not particularly fussed either way about the jockey, I think this is a horse with huge potential.
“I really, really like him but when those Saturday, more casual punters, get involved, they are going to be backing the likes of Champ and Paisley Park and I think Crambo will end up 9/2, maybe even 5/1. But the drift isn’t going to deter me. It isn’t going to occur because of his chances, it is going to occur because people want to be with the more familiar horses that they know more about.
“You can make a case for them, they’ve been there, they’ve done it, they’ve got the T-shirt. But I still believe there is enough to come from Crambo that he will take that step forward and he will be a contender for the Stayers’ Hurdle come March. If he’s going to be, he’s going to have to be winning here.”
“When I looked at this race and saw the difference between these younger horses and the more established types, you keep thinking to yourself ‘well this isn’t a vintage crop of staying hurdlers, one of these newcomers is going to come along and blow this division apart’. But how many seasons now have we been saying that for and they just haven’t so far.
“West Balboa and Crambo at the head of the market still have to, on all known figures, up their game to be meeting the likes of Paisley Park, Dashel Drasher and even Champ with his record fresh which I am very concerned about.
“But I just thought stick with what I know and go with Paisley Park because he’s had the ideal prep for this. Yes he was probably still a little bit below his best when he was second to Dashel Drasher last time out on that reappearance, but he was giving 6lb to Dashel Drasher and only losing by a head.
“So with the weight turnaround in a race he has won three times already, third on the other occasion, and on all known figures the young ‘uns still having to improve to be getting up to what he’s still showing at the age of 11, going on 12, I’m going for Paisley Park.”
Watch all the action from Ascot on Saturday live on Sky Sports Racing, with the Long Walk Hurdle due off at 2.25pm on Saturday.
Source : Sky Sports