Long Walk Hurdle tips: Unowhatimeanharry holds all the aces at Ascot
Long Walk Hurdle tips: Unowhatimeanharry odds say he’ll stroll to success
Saturday’s big race is the Grade 1 JLT Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot (14:25) and the ultra-progressive Unowhatimeanharry looks a worthy favourite to land the 3m contest for stayers.
Trained by Harry Fry, the gelding was a revelation last season when unbeaten in five starts.
After winning a handicap at Cheltenham on seasonal reappearance off a mark of 123, the eight-year-old progressed at a rate of knots to round off the campaign with victory in the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival off an official rating of 152.
First held-up at the rear, Unowhatimeanharry made stealthy headway three from home and, despite being carried left and making a mistake at the last, kept on strongly to beat Fagan by 1 1/2 lengths.
It was a most taking performance and one which suggested he could have even more to offer this season.
That view was confirmed when Unowhatimeanharry ran out the easy winner of the Grade 2 Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury last month.
Major contender for World Hurdle
Our selection when it comes to Long Walk Hurdle tips travelled strongly throughout his last outing at the Hennessy meeting under a confident Barry Geraghty. He came from off the pace to take up the running two from home, before forging clear to easily beat Ballyoptic.
Unowhatimeanharry has nothing to fear from the re-opposing runner-up and it was a display which marked him out as a major contender for the 2017 World Hurdle, for which he is currently 4/1 with Coral.
That price looks justified even ahead of the Long Walk, so Unowhatimeanharry odds say he can pass this test to cement his position at the head of the betting.
French raider Alex de Larredya commands plenty of respect
French raider Alex de Larredya is a fascianting contender and looks a big player for trainer Francois Nicolle. This six-year-old has only finished out of the frame once in 13 starts over hurdles, winning on seven occasions.
Alex de Larredya was particularly impressive last time out when scooting clear to win the Grade 1 Grand Prix d’Automne at Auteuil where he had Ptit Zig a further two lengths back in third.
The gelding relished the testing conditions and it was a career-best effort which suggested he may well have even more to offer. Equating French form is no easy task, but the manner of that victory suggested Alex de Larredya was a top class stayer with a big engine.
Ptit Zig bets a player for in-form Nicholls
Trainer Paul Nicholls has a made a tremendous start to the season and his Ptit Zig looks sure to make his presence felt.
Although held by Alex de Larredya on their latest run, the seven-year-old came out on top by two lengths when they previously met in a Grade 1 at Auteuil.
There is little to choose between the pair on the pick of their form and Ptit Zig is a really tough sort who always gives it his best shot and has a touch of class.
He demonstrated this when beaten just 1 3/4 lengths by the brilliant and ill-fated Vautour in the Grade 2 Stella Artois Chase at this venue 13 months ago. Ptit Zig bets may make a credible each-way case then.
Coral’s top tip: Unowhatimeanharry odds reflect he’s on a serious upward curve, so he rates a solid bet to make it seven wins on the bounce. Alex de Larredya and Ptit Zig can give him most to think about.