Ascot Long Walk Hurdle: Exciting Clashes of Promising Jumpers
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Ascot Long Walk Hurdle: Exciting Clashes of Promising Jumpers

Ascot Racecourse Welcomes Promising Jumpers for Prestigious Long Walk Hurdle

Ascot Racecourse is set to host an exciting edition of the Grade One Howden Long Walk Hurdle, with a new generation of staying hurdlers bidding to take on the division’s established veterans. Trainer Fergal O’Brien believes his charge, the six-year-old Crambo, has the form to warrant a step up to this prestigious three-mile contest, though he acknowledges the formidable challenge ahead.

The long-distance hurdle division has been eagerly awaiting fresh talent, and Saturday’s race provides a platform for the likes of Crambo, the joint-favorite alongside the year-older West Balboa, as well as Botox Has and Blueking D’oroux, to assert their claim as the future of staying hurdling. However, O’Brien is surprised to see his runner at the head of the betting, given the proven credentials of the 11-year-old Paisley Park, 10-year-olds Champ and Dashel Drasher.

Crambo’s Promising Form

Crambo, who won the prestigious Betfair National Hunt Novices’ Handicap Hurdle at Sandown last season, has shown improved form this term, most notably when finishing a fast-finishing third in the Betfair Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle at Haydock, where Saturday’s opponent Gowel Road was two lengths behind. O’Brien believes his charge has “improved a bit” and is eager to see how he fares against the established stayers.

“These older horses aren’t going to give it up very easily,” O’Brien warned. “They are battle-hardened professionals and I don’t like to hear people writing them off. They have been there and got the T-shirt, so Crambo is going to have to up his game again.”

Challengers and Contenders

The race also features the Dan Skelton-trained West Balboa, who is bidding to become a rare mare to win the Long Walk Hurdle, and the Paul Nicholls-trained Blueking D’oroux, who is aiming to become only the third four-year-old to triumph in the race after winning the Grade Two Coral Hurdle at Ascot last month.

While the sentimental vote may go to the three-time winner Paisley Park, who is seeking a record-equaling fourth victory in the Long Walk Hurdle, the new generation of staying hurdlers will be determined to prove their credentials at the highest level. Ascot Racecourse is set to host an intriguing clash between the established stars and the hopeful challengers in this prestigious jump racing event.

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