Buying yourself an early Christmas present is a luxury for many but according to the bookmakers JP McManus could well be taking the Long Walk Hurdle (2.35 on Saturday) home from Ascot. His Unkowhatimeanharry, one of many interesting purchases over the summer, was a progressive handicap hurdler last season who then took the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham to end what was a fantastic five timer. On his return he took apart a strong field in the Bet365 Hurdle, including the Sefton Novice Hurdle winner Ballyoptic who was blown away by six lengths. Clearly, he’s a worthy favourite. The French have often targeted this race, and also with great success too in the past few years, and in Francois Nicolle’s Alex De Larredya there’s another fascinating contender. This will be his first start out of France, but his deeply impressive win in the Grade One Grand Prix d’Automne was a performance that gives him as a major chance here, especially given how he reversed the form of his previous defeat to the Paul Nicholls trained Ptit Zig, who took France’s other great staying hurdle prize, the Grande Course De Haies D’Auteuil. Discussions at Tipsters Review’s Horse Racing Tips suggest that Yanworth could be another World Hurdle contender for JP McManus after his hard fought win in the Ascot Hurdle over 2m3f. The run on Saturday of consistent Lil Rockefeller, who was a brave second in the Ascot hurdle, ought to tell us a lot about how realistic those prospects are should connections want yet another live prospect for the top staying hurdler honours. For all of our tips on this and other Saturday races, please join us a Community Member. Elsewhere on a quality card, the Wessex Youth Trust Handicap Hurdle (3.35) will provide betting opportunities as well as challenges a like for racegoers and punters. Last year’s joint winner Jolly’s Cracked It (tipped as our Saturday Steamer) attempts to make a remarkable return to take this race again, having been off the track since and it’s no surprise that he’s favourite considering his trainer and the fact that he’s gone up just 4lbs for that success. He’s been heavily backed this week but will face significant opposition, including from Nicky Henderson, as adept at any as getting the best out of young hurdlers. The fact that he brings Brain Power and Consul de Thaix, first and second in a valuable listed handicap at Sandown, ought to be taken note of. So too, is the fact that Dan Skelton, so adept at targeting valuable handicaps, gives Meet The Legend his first run in open company here. Looking ahead to the racing closer to Christmas, please join us for our BIG Christmas Show on Wednesday 21 December at 7pm.
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