An intriguing running of the Long Walk Hurdle is due to take place at Ascot with the Rebecca Curtis-trained At Fishers Cross set to clash with Celestial Halo once again.
The latter took full advantage of a hugely disappointing performance by his rival to land the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury last time out.
However, Ladbrokes are backing At Fishers Cross to exact revenge in Berkshire with the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle winner priced at evens to take the upcoming Grade One event.
Meanwhile, Paul Nicholls’ Celestial Halo is 9/4 to follow-up his recent success and secure a fourth renewal victory for the Ditcheat saddler.
But the prevailing opinion is that the nine-year-old veteran is unlikely to enjoy the favourable conditions that arguably led to his latest victory.
At Fishers Cross is expected to strip fitter for his seasonal reappearance and with champion jockey AP McCoy back onboard, plenty of onlookers are likely to support the Irish-bred charge’s big race bid.
And it’s also worth remembering that before a spectacular blunder when two obstacles out at Newbury, Barry Geraghty had still previously managed to get his mount on terms with Celestial Halo.
Softer ground will potentially rein both horses in on this occasion, and barring another jumping mishap, a truer race should unfold with At Fishers Cross aiming to become yet another victorious favourite.
If successful, McCoy’s ride will follow in the footsteps of the seven previous market leading winners who’ve triumphed in the last 10 years.
Reve De Sivola took the spoils in 2012 and Nick Williams’ classy stayer is another entrant to look out for, especially at odds of 5/1.
Finishing third behind Celestial Halo last time out may put some off but the four-time Grade One winner still merits plenty of attention in the upcoming 3m1f contest.
The fact that all 10 of the previous Long Walk victors have been French bred is another trend weighing in the eight-year-old’s favour ahead of what should be a fascinating battle with the two market principals.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date
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