Long Distance Hurdle Betting Tips: Wholestone Well Worth Backing at Newbury

Long Distance Hurdle betting tips on Horsebetting.com put Wholestone up as the one to be on for the 3m Grade 2 staying hurdlers’ event at Newbury on Friday, 30 November. Unowhatimeanharry is feared most over Sam Spinner following an eye-catching run on reappearance after a wind op and now stepped up in trip. New Harry Fry stablemate Momella, meanwhile, is an unexposed mare at this distance and is an each-way alternative. Read all about this feature race in our detailed 2018 Long Distance Hurdle betting tips preview.

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Odds
9/4
Selection
Wholestone
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Odds
11/4
Danger
Unowhatimeanharry
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Odds
9/1
E/W
Momella
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Wholestone the one to be on in Long Distance Hurdle

Nigel Twiston-Davies has a highly consistent staying hurdler in Wholestone, who was clearly not right in last year’s renewal of the Long Distance Hurdle. He arguably sets the standard this time round in the 3m Grade 2 feature race at Newbury on Friday (15:00), so is taken to land a fourth career success at this level.

The seven-year-old has won or placed in 15 of his 18 starts under rules and, after landing his debut bumper at Worcester back in the autumn of 2015, progressed in his second season as a novice hurdler. Wholestone ran a string of solid races throughout 2016-17, winning four times including the Grade 2 Bristol Novices’ Hurdle and Classic Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.

He was then far from disgraced when a 7 1 /2 lengths third to Penhill in the Albert Bartlett at the Festival, and it’s worth remembering the winner impressively returned from almost a year off to land the Stayers’ Hurdle back in March. Wholestone returned to action in the Silver Trophy at Chepstow last season and gave weight away to the first three home when a narrow 1 1/2 lengths fourth to Court Minstrel.

Not right at Newbury

There was no disgrace in him being a 7lb sex allowance worse off then Colin’s Sister next time up in the West Yorkshire Hurdle at Wetherby, and chasing the Fergal O’Brien trained mare home as a two-length runner-up. Something was clearly amiss with Wholestone in this race 12 months ago as he was never really travelling and trailed in last of six to Beer Goggles.

The enterprising winner does not line-up to defend his Long Distance crown here. Wholestone showed that run to be all wrong, however, when landing a third Grade 2 success in the 2m 4f Relkeel Hurdle on heavy ground at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.

Although the runner-up Agrapart reversed the form over 3m in the Cleeve Hurdle later in January, Wholestone was 3lb worse off at the weights when they met again. He was then best of the British staying hurdlers when a five-length third to Penhill at the Festival, finishing ahead of re-opposing duo Sam Spinner and Unowhatimeanharry.

Festival form key

That Stayers’ Hurdle form is clearly the best on offer, as the winner and runner-up Supasundae are dual Grade 1 winners. Wholestone was then second to the ill-fated Identity Thief in the Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree, confirming his superiority over Sam Spinner, and finished the campaign off with a solid third to fellow Simon Munir and Isaac Souede owned gelding Call Me Lord when eased in grade and dropping back in distance for the Select Hurdle at Sandown.

He made a winning return to action in an Aintree hurdle contest earlier this month over 2m 4f, giving weight away to all but one rival. Despite being 4lb worse off with Unowhatimeanharry there, Wholestone beat him over four lengths into third and must only give him a further 2lb here.

With the step back up to 3m holding no fears and in-form regular rider Daryl Jacob back in the saddle, he looks certain to give a better account of himself in this event this time round. It’s Wholestone who thus appeals most among our 2018 Long Distance Hurdle betting tips.

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Unowhatimeanharry feared most

There are two obvious dangers; Sam Spinner, who represents Yorkshire handler Jedd O’Keeffe and tops the official ratings, and Unowhatimeanharry. As the former disappointed when a beaten favourite on his final two starts of last season, it’s the latter who may give Wholestone most to think about following a wind operation and an eye-catching third behind our main selection last time out.

Now a veteran, the Harry Fry trained 10-year-old has won three Grade 1s and 10 of his 26 hurdles starts in total. Unowhatimeanharry has a fine record at Newbury, winning two of his three career appearances at the Berkshire venue and finishing second on the other occasion.

This JP McManus owned son of Sir Harry Lewis enjoyed Cheltenham Festival glory back in 2016 when keeping on well up the hill to land the Albert Bartlett. He was an easing down and impressive winner of this two years ago when beating Ballyoptic by six lengths and clearly value for more than the winning margin.

Unowhatimeanharry then landed the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot and gave a penalty away for that success when following-up in the Cleeve Hurdle on Festival Trials Day in 2017. He was sent off favourite for the Stayers’ Hurdle off the back of these efforts and held every chance at the last, but found no extra thereafter and was beaten into third by Nichols Canyon.

Will wind op work?

Revenge on the ill-fated winner followed at the Punchestown Festival when Unowhatimeanharry was all out and victorious by a head in a ding-dong tussle up the run-in in the Champion Stayers Hurdle. Although winning on reappearance last season, nothing else went right for him as he was second and unable to go with the front-running Beer Goggles in this 12 months ago and then a well-beaten third in the Long Walk.

While Unowhatimeanharry was a poor 10th and beaten 16 lengths in the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival this year, he’s had that wind op over the summer and was a staying on, fast finishing third behind Wholestone at Aintree earlier this month. That suggested stepping back up to 3m would still suit him and he’s sure to strip fitter for the outing.

Even though he is now rated 10lb below his peak at a mark of 157, Unowhatimeanharry comes out on top on adjusted ratings taking into account the 6lb he receives from both Wholestone and Sam Spinner. The race terms are certainly in his favour, but no 10-year-old has ever won this race; so, although connections are respected, we’re taking him on.

Momella an unexposed each-way option

There are some useful sorts in the eight-runner line-up who are unexposed over the trip and have stamina to prove; most notably Clyne and Momella. It’s the latter who fits the bill each-way in this with the benefit of a 7lb sex allowance. She is now also trained by Fry and has had a wind op, having run some very solid races as a novice when in the care of Dan Skelton.

The six-year-old mare is an Irish point winner who has also landed three of her five starts and made the frame on those other two occasions. Momella was an impressive victor on her first two hurdles appearances last season, quickening clear along with the runner-up to score by two lengths and pull miles ahead of the remainder at Newton Abbot. She then bolted up by 17 lengths at Fakenham in the manner of a hot prospect.

Connections pitched Momella into Grade 2 company off the back of those efforts and she was a far from disgraced 2 1/2 lengths runner-up to On The Blind Side in the Hyde Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham. This daughter of Sholokhov then resumed winning ways at the Cotswolds venue when landing a mares’ handicap by half-a-length from River Arrow.

On her final start for Skelton, Momella reversed the Hyde form with On The Blind Side when shaping like a stayer and beaten just 3 1/2 lengths into third behind Black Op and Lostintranslation in the Grade 1 Mersey Novices’ Hurdle. On the pick of this form, she looks well worth a crack now stepped up in trip and the in-form Noel Fehily now takes the ride.

With Fry on a scintillating 33 per cent strike rate in the last fortnight at the time of writing, and Momella getting weight all round, she could easily run above her mark of 142 and make the frame in this if getting the trip. She thus completes our 2018 Long Distance Hurdle betting tips as the each-way option.

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