With the problems of small fields being the topic of many discussions at the British Horseracing Association at the moment, this weekend two big races polarise opinion.
Ascot’s Long Walk Hurdle has managed to attract just five runners who will be competing for £95,000 of prize money. However, 19 runners are set to line up for the Ladbroke Hurdle where there’s nearly £150,000 of prize money up for grabs.
Meanwhile, last week’s horse racing tips provided us with a 7.25 points profit, and hopefully this week’s tips will prove at least as successful.
Long Walk Hurdle, Ascot, Saturday 2.25pm
The last 14 renewals have been won by just 8 horses with Baracouda winning it four-times and Big Bucks three-times. The other multiple-winner is Reve Di Sivola who bids for a hat-trick after winning it for the last two years. However, he’s only the fourth highest rated horse.
Top-rated and likely favourite Zarkandar has some serious question to answer though, as he’s yet to over 3-miles or win at Ascot, and the combination of the two on soft ground requires a stout staying performance.
Outsider Dell’ Arca has the same questions hanging over him, whilst Medina looks sure to stay but isn’t proven at Ascot and was getting a handy weight concession when winning his last race at Wetherby.
The other runner Aubusson is also unproven at Ascot but should relish the test, however he is trained by Nick Williams who also trains Reve Di Sivola.
With prize money down to fifth place it may be that Nick Williams is just pot hunting, however both his runners should relish this test and it may be worth having a reverse forecast.
2 points Reverse Forecast: Reve Di Sivola and Aubusson
The Ladbroke, Ascot, Saturday 3.30pm
Seven of the nine winners of this race carried 11-2 or less with the other two carrying 11-9, whilst 5-year-olds have won five renewals, 4-year-olds one, 6-year-olds two and 7-year-olds one. Trainer Nicky Henderson is the only multiple winning trainer, but has no runner, whilst the retired Norman Williamson is the only jockey to have won it more than once.
The one I really like is Shelford who runs for last year’s winning trainer and jockey combination of Dan and Harry Skelton. As a lightly-raced 5-year-old he’s also got plenty of room for improvement and looks a solid each-way play, whilst any further softening of the ground likely to suit him as he’s proven over further.
2 points each-way Shelford @ 6/1