The Long Walk Hurdle is often seen as a key pointer for the World Hurdle at Cheltenham and once again we can expect to take plenty of Festival clues from the upcoming edition.
Unowhatimeanharry is a warm favourite for the 3m1f test at Ascot with Harry Fry’s charge an impressive winner of the Long Distance Hurdle last time out.
But how do his credentials compare with recent trends ahead of this latest Long Walk renewal?
Well, you can’t fault the jolly’s recent form, having won on each of his previous six starts, with an Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle victory among those successes.
It’ll also encourage connections to see that six of the last 10 favourites have taken this prize, delivering a modest but credible £2.68 level stakes profit.
However, let’s not count our chickens just yet.
French-bred horses have won nine of the last 10 runnings with the Francois Nicolle-trained Alex De Larredya also well-fancied.
The talented eight-year-old was a seven-length winner over three miles last time out and can carry that form into this weekend’s big race.
That victory gained revenge for a French Champion Hurdle defeat to the re-opposing Ptit Zig who himself can’t be discounted.
Paul Nicholls’ charge has a respectable record over both sets of obstacles and should strip fitter for his seasonal reappearance.
Elsewhere, Un Temps Pour Tout, Surtee Du Berlais and Reve De Sivola will also be providing a bit of Gallic flair.
The latter needs little introduction to Ascot punters with the three-time Long Walk winner and last year’s runner-up very much a track specialist.
Nick Williams’ entrant is a tempting each-way shout – especially if we see a few more drops of rain – but if we’re sticking to trends then we’ll have to be ruthless and cut him out of the picture.
Nine of the previous 10 winners finished in the first three on their previous start with five of those victorious.
With Reve De Sivola ending up fifth and 29 lengths behind Unowhatimeanharry at Newbury, the omens aren’t good.
Meanwhile, Lil Rockerfeller outran his odds to finish as a runner-up in the Coral Hurdle last time out and has to be respected.
We can’t say the same about Ballyoptic though, with his two appearances this season resulting in him failing to justify favouritism.
It’s predictable and some might say boring but UNOWHATIMEANHARRY looks a very worthy favourite.
Latest Ladbrokes Betting:
Long Walk Hurdle
Unowhatimeanharry – 5/4
Alex De Larredya – 6/1
Lil Rockerfeller – 6/1
Ballyoptic – 7/1
Ptit Zig – 9/1
Reve De Sivola – 12/1
Click here for the latest Long Walk Hurdle odds.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing