Long Walk Hurdle Day | Fry’s long-term Ascot Plan

Irish Grand National

Last week we had Cheltenham on our TV screens and seven days later, Long Walk Hurdle Day at Ascot provides us with a pre-Christmas cracker on Saturday.

Despite a few unlucky results with Malina Girl, Nurse Susan got the column out of trouble in the 90th minute last Saturday, so let’s hope that form can continue.

Before we kick on, this week’s column looks a little bit different. The first bit will cover shorter-priced ‘win’ propositions that interest me on Saturday while the second half will highlight intriguing each-way plays.


Real chance for Real Stone

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12:20 Haydock – Doyen Star @ 11/4 with BetVictor

ITV Racing is showing action from both Haydock and Ascot over the weekend, though before the mainstream cameras turn their attention to the northern track, consideration should be given to Doyen Star in the 12:20 at Haydock.

At the time of writing, he is the outsider of three at 11/4, though he is officially just one pound behind the market leader, Inedit Star, and he is much more unexposed than Nick Kent’s five-year-old.

On just his second start over hurdles, the Evan Williams-trained five-year-old beat Crebilly comfortably at Chepstow over two miles; the runner-up won impressively since off 127, ran well twice at Cheltenham this season, and now has an official rating of 139.

Although he faded in his chasing debut, that was in the Grade 2 “Rising Stars” Novices’ Chase on his first start at two-and-a-half miles, so with race fitness on his side, and returning to two miles, I think he’s overpriced.

2:05 Haydock – Jagwar @ 15/8 with BetVictor

Fast-forward to 2:05 and Jagwar looks a cut above the field on his handicap debut at 2/1.

Although Inthewaterside has failed to frank the form, it was a huge run from the four-year-old over two-and-a-half miles at Aintree as he travelled with plenty of speed but was just outstayed. With an opening mark of 119, he should oblige.

2:40 Haydock – Real Stone @ 11/8 with William Hill

Another who should do the same is Real Stone 35 minutes later in the 2:40 at Haydock.

He was a facile 20-length winner at Haydock in soft conditions last month and despite his eight-pound rise in the weights – which looks lenient – Tristan Durrell takes off a valuable five pounds and he is a strong favourite.

3:35 Ascot – Altobelli @ 7/2 with William Hill

Over at Ascot, the Betfair Exchange Trophy has been the season-long plan for Altobelli and following his good reappearance over course and distance, there’s no need to lose faith at 7/2.

Expectations for his last start in the Seat Unique Handicap Hurdle were average as he was always going to come on for the outing, yet he ran a blinder to finish second and even the third, Bad, has since come out and finished second in the Gerry Feilden at Newbury to frank the form.

Harry Fry is a master a readying one for a big day and hopefully, that can be the case with this son of Maxios.


Haydock is right for Park

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12:40 Ascot – Illogical Logic @ 25/1 with William Hill

Having gone through the cards a few times over, there are a few each-way angles I’ve landed on that could outrun their odds.

The first comes from Ascot as I’m taking a small chance of Illogical Logic in the opener for Christian Williams at 25/1.

The five-year-old showed plenty of promise on his last start in what was his first attempt at two-and-a-half miles.

This run came after two runs over an inadequate trip of two miles, though on all three occasions he travelled prominently yet found himself outpaced.

Today’s step up to three miles will suit much better and with an opening handicap mark of 107, he has the scope to be better than this mark.

1:30 Haydock – Dr Kananga @ 12/1 with William Hill

Moving over to Haydock, an early Christmas present may be coming the way of Ben Clarke in the Tommy Whittle Handicap Chase as Dr Kananga (12/1) is a well-handicapped horse with suitable conditions.

The nine-year-old is very honest having had an extended period in the point-to-point and hunter chase scene, though since running in better races, he has bolted up at Sandown off a mark of 125 and finished a good second to Eva’s Oskar at Exeter off 135.

Last season was disappointing, though connections had the plan of preparing him in a hurdles race before a big handicap chase tilt on two occasions.

For example, he ran in a novice hurdle at Bangor (when second to Maximilian) before a stab at the Becher Handicap Chase, and he then ran in the Grade 2 Prestige Novices’ Hurdle before he ran in the Kim Muir.

This didn’t work out, but he had wind issues throughout the campaign, so with a wind-op in the bag and now down to a mark of 128, he should go well in heavy ground at Haydock.

3:15 Haydock – Bushypark @ 11/1 with William Hill

In the Haydock finale, there’s reason to believe Bushypark could be ready to go close for Philip Kirby at 11/1.

His first two starts of the season have lacked positivity, though the handicapper has dropped him a helpful six pounds in the handicap to a mark of 115, a full four pounds below his last winning mark.

Furthermore, Joe Williamson, who has ridden him to success on two occasions, claims a valuable five pounds off his back.

Although he may be regressing slightly, there’s no denying the fact he is very well-handicapped on all of his old form and his 2/3 around Haydock.

If he can get an easy lead from the front, he could sail through the soft conditions and be hard to catch.

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