Long Walk Hurdle Tips and Free Bets

Read on for the best betting offers and promotions, odds and tips for the Long Walk Hurdle, brought to us from Ascot.

Ascot hosts this Saturday’s Long Walk Hurdle, a Grade 1 race open to horses over the age of four. It is three miles and one furlong in length with 14 hurdles in total to be tackled. The Long Walk Hurdle can be viewed as a very handy trial run for Cheltenham’s three mile World Hurdle on day three of the Festival.

A number of top notch horses have won both races in the same season so it’s certainly worth keeping note of any strong runners this Saturday in case they feature at the World Hurdle next March. Can anyone follow in the footsteps of greats such as Baracouda, Big Buck’s, Thistlecrack and the defending champion Paisley Park?

Note that we’ve also got betting tips for the Ascot Silver Cup, the other big race of the day.

Long Walk Hurdle 2019 Race Preview and Tips

The Marsh Hurdle, as it is currently called, is the feature race of the Christmas Family Raceday at Ascot on Saturday. Few of those who make the trip to the Berkshire track will refer to it by its official name though with most still calling it the Long Walk Hurdle. This Grade 1 is one of the biggest long distance hurdle races of the season. The 2019 renewal carries a £100,000 purse and it would be a major surprise were the winner’s share of that not to head to connections of the defending champion, Paisley Park.

Paisley Park to Hammer Home His Quality

A year can make a massive difference in the world of horse racing. Just look at the difference in Paisley Park heading into the 2019 Long Walk Hurdle compared to the 2018 running. 12 months ago, Emma Lavelle’s charge was rated an 8/1 shot to win over 3 miles ½ a furlong at Ascot (we know because we tipped him each way!). The best price you’ll get on him this time around is the 1/4 that bet365 are quoting.

Last year, the pre-race talk about Paisley Park was all about whether or not he had the class to compete at the top level having done most of his recent work in handicaps. There are no doubts about his class any more. He followed up a 2 length win over West Approach at Ascot by beating the same opponent in a Grade 2 at Cheltenham before heading into the Cheltenham Festival as the 11/8 favourite for the Stayers’ Hurdle.

Victory in that huge Grade 1 at the Festival cemented Paisley Park’s position as the best long distance hurdler around and a worthy heir to past greats. His performances and the fondness in which his owner, Andrew Gemmell, is held made Paisley Park one of the best stories of last year’s National Hunt season. He’s already made a winning return to action this season, getting the better of Thistlecrack in the Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle, and should have little trouble following up with another win on Saturday.

Who Will Lead the Challenge to the Favourite?

As ever with a Grade 1 contest, Paisley Park cannot simply turn up and win. He’ll need to be somewhere near his best to beat a field full of horses who can turn in a top class performance if they arrive at Ascot at the top of their game.

The Worlds End finished 7 lengths behind Paisley Park last time out at Newbury but should enjoy the heavy ground at Ascot whilst Tobefair is another who has done a lot of good work when it is cut up underfoot.

The best priced challenger, however, is L’Ami Serge at 12/1 with Betfred. That price doesn’t reflect his quality as a long distance hurdler but the fact that he hasn’t been seen since May when his season petered out in a Grade 1 at Auteuil. He’s a former runner up in the Long Walk and the experienced nine-year-old can go close again.

Betting Predictions

This is far from a weak renewal of the Long Walk Hurdle even with a fairly small field of six competitors but it will still go down as a surprise if the favourite gets beaten. Paisley Park is enjoying himself at the head of the long distance hurdling division and can send out a message that he will remain there for the rest of the season with victory at 1/4 with bet365.

Long Walk Hurdle Preview Winners

  • 2018 – Paisley Park– jockey Aidan Coleman, trainer Emma Lavelle
  • 2017 – Sam Spinner – jockey Joe Colliver, trainer Jedd O’Keeffe
  • 2016 – Unowhatimeanharry – jockey Barry Geraghty, trainer Harry Fry
  • 2015 – Thistlecrack – jockey Tom Scudamore, trainer Colin Tizzard
  • 2014 – Reve De Sivola – jockey Daryl Jacob, trainer Nick Williams
  • 2013 – Reve De Sivola – jockey Richard Johnson, trainer Nick Williams
  • 2012 – Reve De Sivola – jockey Richard Johnson, trainer Nick Williams
  • 2011 – Big Buck’s – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Paul Nicholls
  • 2010 – Big Buck’s – jockey Tony McCoy, trainer Paul Nicholls
  • 2009 – Big Buck’s – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Paul Nicholls
  • 2008 – Punchestowns – jockey Barry Geraghty, trainer Nicky Henderson
  • 2007 – Lough Derg – jockey Tom Scudamore, trainer David Pipe
  • 2006 – Mighty Man – jockey Richard Johnson, trainer Henry Daly
  • 2005 – My Way de Solzen – jockey Robert Thornton, trainer Alan King

Race History Plus Top Jockeys and Trainers

This Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle race is run over a distance of three miles and one furlong at Ascot race course, with a total of 14 hurdles to be overcome. The Long Walk Hurdle is open to horses aged four years or older and has history dating all the way back to 1965.

It became a conditions race in 1971, after being originally a handicap fixture since its founding. It became a Grade 1 event in 1990 and has had a fantastic history of its winners going on to win the World Hurdle in the same season. Four have achieved this feat in the past, with the first being Derring Rose in the 1980-81 season, and the latest being Big Buck’s who was successful in both races for three consecutive seasons spanning from 2009 until 2012.

Only on four occasions has a horse aged nine or over ran out as victor in this particular contest, these being in 1990, 2002, 2004 and 2014. A similar statistic can be seen for the younger competitors here though, with just two four-year-old horses being successful in this race in the past – in 1995 and 1996.

The list of previous winners here contains a number of reoccurring names, especially in the most recent years of the contest. Between the years of 2009 and 2014, we see just two horses dominating this event. Big Buck’s won this fixture between 2009 and 2011 and then Reve De Sivola matched the triple winning feat with his three triumphs from 2012 until 2014. Richard Johnson’s two victories on Reve De Sivola in 2012 and 2013 helped him to become the most successful jockey to have ever competed in this race’s history, adding to his previous two successes in 1999 and 2006.

There are a couple of other jockeys just behind Johnson with three victories in this one, and they are AP McCoy and Thierry Doumen. AP McCoy won on the incomparable Big Buck’s in his 2010 victory, Baracouda in 2004 and Deano’s Beeno in 2002. It is the legendary Baracouda that links McCoy and Doumen however, with the latter winning on three separate occasions with this horse between 2000 and 2003.

McCoy on Deano’s Beeno in 2002 was the reason why Baracouda could not win in five consecutive contests here, but this still does not prevent him from being the most successful horse ever entered into this competition. In turn, this horse’s trainer, Thierry’s father Francois Doumen, holds the accolade for the most successful trainer in the Long Walk Hurdle as well with four triumphs.