Tag Archive for: LONG WALK

Rebecca Curtis aware of Long Walk task for Lisnagar Oscar

Rebecca Curtis is under no illusions about the task facing Lisnagar Oscar in the Howden Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday.

The 2020 Stayers’ Hurdle hero made a pleasing start to his campaign when third at Aintree and connections were in optimistic mood ahead of his latest outing in the Long Distance Hurdle.

Lisnagar Oscar was a well-beaten fifth at Newbury, but Curtis believes she has a viable excuse for why he underperformed.

“Newbury was a nightmare really. He ripped off a shoe and scraped his heel, so that’s what we’re putting his disappointing run down to,” said the Newport-based trainer.

“He was very disappointing on the day, but when he came back you could see he’d kept banging into his heel and ripped his shoe off. Adam (Wedge) said he stopped four out and then sort of ran on again.”

The eight-year-old could renew rivalry with the first three from Newbury in Thomas Darby, On The Blind Side and dual Long Walk winner Paisley Park.

Rebecca Curtis is hoping Lisnagar Oscar can bounce back to form
Rebecca Curtis is hoping Lisnagar Oscar can bounce back to form (David Davies/PA)

With likely favourite Buzz, Thyme Hill and Irish raider Ronald Pump adding further strength in depth, Lisnagar Oscar is a 25-1 shot with William Hill.

Curtis added: “He seems to be back in good form and I think Ascot should suit him better (than Newbury) with a bit of cut in the ground as well.

“It’s a very strong race, but we’ll give it a go and see what happens.”

Henderson big guns in Long Walk mix

Stablemates Buzz and Champ head 11 confirmations for the Howden Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday.

Buzz is the likely favourite for the Grade One contest following a profitable autumn campaign – winning the Cesarewitch at Newmarket on the Flat before reverting to the jumping game to win the Ascot Hurdle.

Nicky Henderson’s charge is set to test the water over three miles for the first time in this weekend’s feature event and could be joined by two stable companions in Champ and On The Blind Side.

Champ looks set to run over hurdles for the first time since April 2019, having been off the track since being pulled up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.

Champ (right) in hurdling action at Aintree two years ago
Champ (right) in hurdling action at Aintree two years ago (Nigel French/PA)

On The Blind Side was last seen filling the runner-up spot behind the Olly Murphy-trained Thomas Darby, who is also in line to run on Saturday.

Emma Lavelle’s Paisley Park, who was third at Newbury, will bid for a third Long Walk crown after taking top honours in 2018 and 2020.

The Philip Hobbs-trained Thyme Hill, who was beaten a neck by Paisley Park in an epic renewal 12 months ago, will look to bounce back from a disappointing effort in France last month.

The sole Irish contender is Matthew Smith’s stable star Ronald Pump, who filled the runner-up spot behind the brilliant mare Honeysuckle in the Hatton’s Grace at Fairyhouse three weeks ago.

Evan Williams has left in his Betfair Exchange Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle winner Dans Le Vent, but he is far from certain to take up the engagement.

“Dans Le Vent is confirmed for Saturday in the Long Walk Hurdle, but if that race fills up at declaration time, there is every chance we will wait for the Relkeel Hurdle,” said Williams.

“I won’t run in the Long Walk if it fills up and will wait a couple of weeks for the Relkeel.”

Lisnagar Oscar (Rebecca Curtis), Third Wind (Hughie Morrison) and Indefatigable (Paul Webber) complete the acceptors.