Long Walk Hurdle betting tips: Call Me Lord all the rage for Ascot staying test

The 2018 Long Walk Hurdle betting tips on Horsebetting.com say Call Me Lord is an unexposed sort for the 3m Grade 1 test at Ascot on Saturday, 22 December. He is one of three in the race for champion trainer Nicky Henderson, but looks the pick of the trio. While stablemate Soul Emotion is an interesting each-way contender stepping up in trip, Harry Fry also has his stable in form. That makes 2016 race winner Unowhatimeanharry a serious danger after he regained the Long Distance title at Newbury last time out. For more on this valuable staying contest, read our 2018 Long Walk Hurdle betting tips preview below.

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Odds
11/4
Selection
Call Me Lord
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Odds
9/2
Danger
Unowhatimeanharry
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Odds
10/1
E/W
Soul Emotion
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Call Me Lord can make successful step up in Long Walk

Champion trainer Nicky Henderson is triple-handed in his bid for a second Long Walk Hurdle crown this year. The pick of his trio is Call Me Lord, who loves going right-handed and has been favourite for this 3m Grade 1 test at Ascot on Saturday (14:25) since initial entries closed.

This five-year-old son of Sickly has stamina to prove, but made a real impression when stepped up to 2m 5f for the Grade 2 Select Hurdle on his final start of last season. After being held-up in touch, Call Me Lord made smooth headway to lead before two out and soon drew clear.

His margin of victory would’ve been even greater than 16 lengths had he not blundered at the last. The runner-up, Lil Rockerfeller had earlier won the Grade 2 Coral Hurdle here and previously finished a game second in the 2017 Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Super show in Select Hurdle

Call Me Lord simply had the opposition on Jumps Finale day at Sandown strung out like washing, and the scary thing is he’s open to the most improvement from such a performance compared to his 10 rivals in this. That means his current official rating of 160 may still underestimate his ability, especially in the stayers’ sphere if getting the trip.

He had previously been campaigned throughout last term at 2m, landing his UK debut at the Esher venue in April of last year and a handicap on heavy in January. That demonstrates how versatile Call Me Lord is as regards ground, so the soft conditions underfoot should hold no fears for him. He was also a gallant neck runner-up off top-weight in the ultra competitive Grade 3 Imperial Cup at Sandown when trying to give 25lb to Mr Antolini.

With the step up in trip sure to suit on his last outing, everything points to Call Me Lord making a winning return to action in this. He is thus a worthy favourite and bet to land the spoils, and heads our 2018 Long Walk Hurdle betting tips as a result.

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Unowhatimeanharry feared most

Precious little is clear about the staying hurdlers division on this side of the Irish Sea at present, but the now veteran Unowhatimeanharry bounced back to form by regaining the Long Distance title at Newbury last time out. A wind op and a reappearance run when third over an inadequate trip really look to have brought the Harry Fry trained 10-year-old back to his best.

This JP McManus owned son of Sir Harry Lewis is a three-time Grade 1 winner who won the 2016 Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival, and then this race the following season. He was then turned over when sent off odds-on for the Stayers’ Hurdle, but gained revenge over the ill-fated Nichols Canyon when just prevailing by a head at the 2017 Punchestown Festival.

Although Unowhatimeanharry then made a winning return to action at Aintree last season, he didn’t go in again, finishing second to the enterprising front-runner Beer Goggles at Newbury and an 11-length third to Sam Spinner in this 12 months ago. He was also an out of sorts 10th to Penhill in the Stayers, but that breathing operation looks to have had the desired effect.

Bouncing back to form

Unowhatimeanharry was given a peach of a ride by Barry Geraghty in the Long Distance, tracking the leaders and pushed along at times to hold his place. He hit the front in-between the last two and stayed on like the force of old for a 2 1/2 lengths victory over Clyne.

It’s interesting that many of those contesting that Grade 2 event don’t re-oppose here, although Sam Spinner who unseated when weakening and the third horse home The Mighty Don do line-up against Unowhatimeanharry again. The assessor has kept him on an unchanged mark of 157 and, while he isn’t open to the same progress as many rivals, this may still be on the lenient side.

A repeat of his Long Distance heroics at a venue where Unowhatimeanharry has a 50 per cent strike rate means he should go close. The fact that he is twice the age of Call Me Lord is the only reason why we say take him on in our 2018 Long Walk Hurdle betting tips.

Soul Emotion an intriguing each-way punt

The other two Henderson trained horses taking their chances here are Soul Emotion and Top Notch. It’s the former, another five-year-old, that makes for an interesting each-way bet after winning both of his starts since leaving France.

Seven Barrows handler Henderson does well with these cross-Channel imports and this son of Martaline has a progressive profile after joining the yard. Soul Emotion didn’t take to chasing when with Guillaume Macaire, so reverted back to hurdles on his UK bow at Sandown in March when making all in a class 3 handicap over 2m 4f at Sandown.

He was value for more than the winning margin of six lengths as Nico De Boinville eased him in the final 100 yards with the race already put to bed. Soul Emotion then followed-up over the same course and distance when up in class and running out a very ready four-length victor over Wolf Of Windlesham.

The front two pulled 11 lengths clear of the third home Fidux, who has come out and won both his starts this season to give the form a solid look. This demands plenty more, but Soul Emotion is a very unexposed runner and, if getting the trip, has every chance off a mark of 152 of progressing even more.

With double figure odds on offer, he looks the one that is most worth chancing to hit the frame in a fascinating renewal. Soul Emotion thus completes our 2018 Long Walk Hurdle betting tips from Ascot at a better price than another improving sort in Emma Lavelle’s Paisley Park.

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