Five Key Questions ahead of the Long Walk Hurdle

Brian Hughes has a good book of rides on Saturday afternoon.
Brian Hughes has a good book of rides on Saturday afternoon.

Alex Stearn looks at five key talking points ahead of a busy Saturday of racing action, and the final race day before the festive period...

How will Paisley Park cope with heavy ground?

Since Ascot’s previous meeting, the Long Walk Hurdle had hinted at being an early Christmas treat, with Paisley Park set to take on Harry Fry’s improving hurdler, If The Cap Fits, but after he was ruled out at the confirmation stage on Monday, it looks as being nothing more than a glorified racecourse gallop for Emma Lavelle’s stable star. However, with the amount of rain forecast, the Marsh Hurdle looks like being run on marshland, which will pose a new challenge for the short-priced favourite. Andrew Gemmell’s popular hurdler took this contest last year on soft ground, but if it ends up being as heavy as it was during Champions Day, it will be a thorough test of stamina. Paisley Park has often been seen to have hit flat spots during his races, and although he didn’t at Newbury on his return, the heavy ground will test his will to win. If he only even slightly copes with the ground he should be good enough to win this contest, but the field isn’t without mud-lovers that could cause a shock. L’Ami Serge is a Group 1 winner on very soft ground in France so has the ability to be involved here despite coming off a long lay-off, whilst Agrapart is a Cleeve Hurdle winner on heavy ground, with the booking of Davy Russell catching the eye. An on-song Paisley Park should leave these in his wake but the unknown of how he will cope with the ground leaves a small nagging doubt that it might not be as straight-forward as the market suggests. 

The lights to lead the way? 

The Grade 3 handicap hurdle rounds off Ascot’s card, and by the time 15.35 comes around, it will be truly dismal ground, making it a war of attrition for the runners. If backing a hold-up horse, you will need to keep a close eye on them during the 2-mile trip, as by the time they swing into the straight, their distinctive silks are going to be unrecognisable. The race itself is wide open, with it near 7/1 the field at the time of writing, and given how soft it will be underfoot, it may pay to side with the horses at the bottom of the weights that will have the light weights on their back. Hughie Morrison doesn’t have many that go jumping over the winter, but his runner, namely Not So Sleepy, has a strong chance of following up. He won over C&D on soft ground on his latest start, the form of which was boosted when the third from that contest was only just touched off at Cheltenham last week. He does have a 5 lb higher mark to contend with here, but that rise in the weights would have been required for him to race from within the handicap, allowing him to get in this contest with a featherweight 10-03 on his back. The best of his Flat form has come with plenty of give underfoot, and with improvement still capable in this sphere, he has plenty of factors that help make his case. 

Of the rest with under 11 stone on their back, Quoi De Neuf comes here off the back of a good fourth in the Greatwood when a staying on length and a half behind the reopposing Harambe, with the softer surface likely to able him to close the gap. Two intriguing handicap debutantes complete the list of alternatives – Sir Valentine and Tamaroc Du Mathan. The form of each of one of their latest starts is likely to have taken a boost on Friday afternoon, with both their previous conquerors lining up against each other at Ascot in Grade 2 company. If Ribble Valley wins, expect Sir Valentine to attract each-way support from the Twiston-Davies team after Sir Valentine chased him home at Wetherby last time, whilst a victory for Master Debonair will see Tamaroc Du Mathan have his price cut on just his second start for Paul Nicholls.  

Ascot 15:35
Not So Sleepy silk

Not So Sleepy


Can Venetia Williams continue her impressive form? 

Venetia Williams usually excels when the mud starts to fly, and her string could hardly be in better form heading into a wet weekend. With an incredible 12 winners from her last 26 runners before racing on Friday, it isn’t hard to see why she has two big hopes of success on Saturday at Ascot. 

Firstly, Espoir De Guye looks like starting as favourite in the handicap chase at 13.50. Admittedly, it is an extremely open contest given the small field, but he will be popular given the nature of his performance last time out. He was a comfortable winner over the same trip at Exeter on soft ground, so ticks a lot of boxes when making a case for him. He had the race at his mercy from four out, travelling better than most and allowed Charlie Deutsch to press the button between the last two fences to kick clear. He has to run off a 9 lb higher mark here as a consequence, but he was impressive on the last occasion and could be capable of defying that rise.

Just over an hour later, Yalltari drops back into handicap company at Ascot after last being seen over this course and distance in February. That saw him finish third in Grade 2 company, and the form of that run suggests that his mark of 145 could be lenient. Given that it is a listed handicap, it gives him a nice racing weight, and more progress isn’t fully out of the question either given how lightly raced this eight-year-old is. The 308-day lay-off isn’t ideal when taking on race-fit rivals under these conditions, but his handler is extremely capable of readying one, especially when her string is in such red-hot form.

Three of the best for Hughes on Saturday?

Brian Hughes has been considered the Champion Jockey of the north for the past few seasons, and whilst he’s usually struggled to keep up with the relentless pace set by Richard Johnson, he can head into the Christmas break with a lead. Whilst last year’s champion heads to Ascot, Hughes is staying put in the north with what looks to be a strong book of rides at Newcastle, with three solid chances.

He bookends the card for handler Keith Dalgleish, retaining the rides from their respective last successes. Firstly, Starplex lines up in a low-grade two-mile hurdle after winning at the track nine days ago. He has to contend with a drop back in trip and a 9 lb higher mark here, but the way that this son of Multiplex travelled throughout the contest last time suggests that neither of those factors should be an issue in preventing a bold bid to follow up and can get him off to the perfect start. 

Nicky Richards has his string in good form at the minute, and he sends Glittering Love for his seasonal reappearance in the search for a five-timer. Hughes struck up quite a partnership with this horse last year, when on board for all four of his victories over fences. The last three of those wins came at three miles on soft ground, but being that they were round the sharp-natured Ayr, the drop back to two and a half miles round Newcastle shouldn’t be an issue. 

The second start for Dalgleish sees Hughes finish the card in the bumper, with a plum ride on the Paul and Clare Rooney-owned Let Me Be. He was slightly green at Aintree on his first start under Rules, but once he had learnt what was needed during the race, he won by 5 lengths. His performance suggested that he could be a horse to follow for the season in the bumper sphere, with this contest looking an excellent stepping stone to a higher level considering that it lacks in quality and can be used as another learning experience. A Hughes hat-trick can sign punters off for the Christmas period with their pockets filled ready for the festive feast that kicks off on Boxing Day. 

Will Lingfield be needed to save the day? 

With the overhanging threat of rain on already heavy ground, the Jumps meetings may succumb to the weather, paving the way for the all-weather to save us all from early Christmas small-talk with our distant relatives. The Quebec Stakes headlines their card, and despite the relatively small field, it is a contest filled with quality. John Gosden is double-handed in his bid to follow up last year’s success, with the progressive Dubai Warrior his main hope. Robert Havlin would have had the choice between him and Court House, and having selected the former, he will be hoping to maintain his unbeaten partnership with this colt. His successes in novice company earlier in the year got us all purring at the quality of this animal, but the bubble was somewhat burst when he was beaten on handicap debut and then on his only start on grass to date in Group 3 company.

He’s since regained the winning thread when beating two of today’s rivals at Chelmsford over a month ago, and given that he now meets them on better terms than he did in handicap company, it’s hard to see Victory Bond and Kasbaan turning the tables. Those two have more recent form together, when finishing first and third respectively in a C&D handicap just 17 days ago, and would be expected to finish in that order again. As mentioned, stablemate Court House also lines up, but he may have to settle for the role of pacemaker again. Dalgarno completes the field of five, but given he has to cope with a penalty when success at listed level in France on his latest start, he has plenty to find at the weights with Dubai Warrior. 

Lingfield 14:00

This race is now finished - View Results

Betway Quebec Stakes (Listed)

  • 3YO plus, 5 Runners
  • Flat,Polytrack , 1m 2f , Standard
  • Winner £20,983, 2nd £7,955, 3rd £3,981, 4th £1,983, 5th £995, 6th £500


DUBAI WARRIOR accounted for both Kasbaan (second) and Victory Bond (third) at Chelmsford last month and is fancied to frank that form for John Gosden. Polytrack is clearly his preferred surface and he can take this before moving towards bigger targets on the all-weather next year. Victory Bond had Kasbaan a length back in third when scoring over this C&D 17 days ago but isn't sure to confirm superiority, while recent French Listed hero Dalgarno can prove best of the remainder.

Stats Filter

Course Winner
Distance Winner
Won Last Time Out
Ran Within 30 Days
Sort By Number
  • Sort By Number
  • Sort By Odds
  • Sort By RP Rating
  • Sort By Topspeed
Purple, light green stars, purple cap, light green star
Age: 6
Weight: 9-11
He has won four times from 1m 1f to 1m 4f including a win on fibresand. A winner at Deauville over 1m 1f last month, beating Carlton Choice by a short head.D.
OR: 100, RPR: -, Topspeed: -
Emerald green, black chevrons on sleeves
Age: 4
Weight: 9-8
He has won three times from 1m to 1m 4f on the all-weather (2 PO). Finished 11l behind Matterhorn when sixth of 8 at 7-1 on his latest outing over this course and distance in April.C.
OR: 107, RPR: -, Topspeed: -
Black, orange seams and sleeves, black cap
1 Tip
Age: 4
Weight: 9-8
He has won three times from 1m to 1m 2f on polytrack. Third of 11 behind Victory Bond beaten 1l at 3-1fav on his latest outing over this course and distance earlier this month. Has won twice at Kempton this season.CD, BF.
OR: 99, RPR: -, Topspeed: -
Tipped By:
Purple and white stripes, black velvet cap, gold tassel
2 Tips
Age: 6
Weight: 9-8
Winner of five races from 1m 1f to 1m 2f including 4 wins on the all-weather (3 PO). A winner at 4-1 over this course and distance on his latest outing earlier this month, beating Pactolus by 3/4l.CD.
OR: 102, RPR: -, Topspeed: -
Tipped By:
Daily Express
The Scout
Yellow, royal blue chevron, royal blue cap
3 Naps
14 Tips
Age: 3
Weight: 9-6
He has won three times from 1m to 1m 2f on polytrack. Won on his latest outing when 6-4fav at Chelmsford City over 1m 2f last month, beating Kasbaan by 1/2l. Has also won at Kempton this season.D.
OR: 107, RPR: -, Topspeed: -
Tipped By:
Daily Mail
Robin Goodfellow
Daily Mirror
Daily Record
Garry Owen
David Milnes
RP Ratings
Paul Curtis
Andrew Sheret
The Guardian
The Star
Jason Heavey
The Sun
The Times
Rob Wright
Daily Telegraph
Yorkshire Evening Post
Lee Sobot
Reading the racecard:
• 1 (5) = Horse number with the draw number in brackets.
• Number alongside the horse name is the days since the horse last ran.
• Numbers/letters under the jockey silk is the horse form with the most recent figure on the right. Numbers = finishing position (0 = finished outside the top 10), P = pulled up, F = fell, U = Unseated, B = brought down, R = refused, C = carried out, D = disqualified, HR = hit rails, L = left at start, O = ran out, S = slipped up, V = void race. A dash between figures indicates a year between the runs and a slash indicates a new season.
• % alongside jockey/trainer names = strike rate in last 30 days.
• Key to pointers: C = Course winner, D = Distance winner, CD = Course & Distance winner, BF = Beaten Favourite last time out, WS = Has had wind surgery since last run, LT = Longest Travellers, b = Wearing blinkers, b1 = Wearing blinkers for the first time, h = Wearing a hood, h1 = Wearing a hood for the first time, t = Wearing a tongue strap, t1 = Wearing a tongue strap for the first time, v = Wearing a visor, v1 = Wearing a visor for the first time, p = Wearing cheek pieces. OR = Official Rating. RPR = Racing Post Rating. Topspeed is a figure calculated using race times and the going to show how fast the horse can run.
Bet 50p to watch the race at
Today's Race Cards
Bet £10 Get £30 in Free Bets
#AD New UK customers only. Min £10 first deposit using Debit Card. Place a bet of £10 at min odds of 1.5 and get £10. Further £10 credited after 7 days and a further £10 credited after 14 days. Full T&Cs apply.18+.
Bet £10 Get £20 + £10 Casino Bonus
get offer
#AD New UK customers (Excluding NI) only. Mobile Exclusive. £30 in FREE Bets (FB) as £20 in sports bets & a £10 casino bonus (CB). Min Deposit £10. Min stake £10. Min odds Evs. FB applied on 1st settlement of any qualifying bet. FB 7-day expiry. 1 FB offer per customer, household & IP address only. Account & Payment restrictions. 14 days to accept £10 CB, then active for 3 days. CB 5x wagering & max redeemable £100. Game restrictions apply. Cashed out/Free Bets won’t apply. 30 days to qualify. 18+ T&Cs apply.
Get £30 In Free Bets When You Place Any Bet
get offer
#AD New customers only. First single & e/w bet only. 5p minimum stake. Odds of 1/1 or greater. 3 x £10 bet tokens. Free bet stakes not included in returns. Free bets exclude virtuals. Free bets are non withdrawable. Free bets expire after 30 days. Eligibility restrictions and further t&cs apply. 18+.
Bet £10 get £30 in Free Bets
get offer
#AD T&Cs apply. New customers, Deposit & Place a Bet within 7 days, and settle a £10 minimum bet at odds of 4/5 (1.8) or greater, to be credited with 3x £10 free bets: 1 x £10 Horse racing, 1 x £10 Free Bet Builder and 1 x £10 Football. Stake not returned. Opt-in required. 18+
Welcome Offer
get offer
#AD New Customers only. Bet £10 & Get £30 in Free Bets. Sign up, deposit between £5 and £10 to your account and bet365 will give you three times that value in Free Bets when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply.
Bet £10 Get £40 In Free Bets
get offer
#AD 18+ only. New customers only. For verified UK clients only. The qualifying bet should start at £10 and have 1.5 or greater odds. Following the qualifying bet, you will receive 4 free bets that can be used one after another. Each free bet lasts for 7 days. Single bet only. Pre-Match or Live. No Cash-Out. Max payout – £500. T&Cs apply.
Bet £10 Get £20 + 50 Free Spins
get offer
#AD 18+ New UK customers. Bet £10 on accas with 4+ legs, min odds 3/1 (4.0). Get 4x £5 Free Bets and 50 Free Spins, valid for 7 days on selected bets and games only. T&Cs apply.
Excellent Range Of Offers For Existing Customers
get offer
#AD 18+. Accounts are only available to persons aged 18 years or over. Placing bets by anyone under the age of 18 is prohibited and AK Bets reserves the right to void any transactions with any such person. AK Bets may carry out age verification checks in accordance with Our Privacy Policy. Full Terms & Conditions Apply.
Bet £20 Get £20 In Free Bets
get offer
#AD 18+. New Customers Only. Max one £20 Free Bet. Qualifying bets at Odds of 1/1(2.00) or greater. Paid as Bonus Token with Min 4/5(180) Odds Req. Skrill, Neteller & Paypal not eligible. T&Cs Apply
50% Back as a Free Bet Up To £25
get offer
#AD Offer valid for new Betgoodwin customers aged 18 years and over. 50% of first day losses refunded as a free bet. To be credited within 24 hours. Max free bet per customer £25.Minimum of 3 bets of £10 or more on separate events at odds of evens (2.0) or bigger to qualify. First day losses equals all settled stakes less all return before 23:59. Free bets must be used in their entirety and stakes are deducted from returns. Free bets are non withdrawable and to be credited within 24 hours. This offer can not be used in conjunction with any other Betgoodwin opening offer.This offer is limited to one free bet per person/household/IP address. Betgoodwin reserves the right to withhold, restrict or cancel this offer from individuals in accordance with Betgoodwin Terms and Conditions 11.8 & 11.9. T&Cs Apply.
Bet £20 Get £40 In Bonuses
get offer
#AD 18+ New customers only. Opt in, bet £20 on Horse Racing, 1/1+ odds in 7 days, no cash out. Get £40 in Free Bets on set markets valid 7 days. Debit Card / Apple Pay payments only. T&Cs apply. See below. | Please Gamble Responsibly.
Bet £25 Get £10 Free Bet
get offer
#AD This promotion is for new customers only. Customers must be 18+. Customers must be residents of the UK/IE. Sign Up using the promo code b25g10fb and make a minimum deposit of £25.. Place a minimum £25 bet on any selection with minimum odds of evens (2.0) and receive a £10 free bet upon bet settlement. Full terms & conditions apply.
Best Odds Guaranteed On UK & Irish Racing
get offer
#AD Offer applies to bets placed online only, on UK & Irish on both Horse & Greyhound racing (includes singles & multiples), on bets placed from 09:00 UK Time on the day of race, on race winner markets only. T&Cs apply,
Money Back As A Free Bet Up To £20 If First Bet Loses
get offer
#AD New Customers Only using code MB20. Minimum Odds of 1.8 for first bet to qualify. Losses will be refunded on first bet only, as a free bet up to £20. Users cannot back and lay the same selection on the first bet. Qualifying bets open to Exchange, Matchbook Zero & Multiples. Only open to users who deposit via debit card. New Customers Only. 18+.
Bet £10 Get £40 in Bonuses
get offer
#AD New 18+ UK customers only. Register with promo code WELCOME40, deposit and place 1st bet of £10+ on Sports (cumulative Evens+) within 7 days of registration. First bet must be on Sports. £30 in Free Bets and £10 in Free Spins (50x20p) credited in 10 hours of bet settlement. Free Bet stakes not included in any returns. Bonuses expire in 7 days. Payment restrictions apply. SMS verification and/or Proof of I.D and address may be required. Full T&Cs apply.
Bet £10 Get £10 Free Bet
get offer
#AD 18+ New customers only.   Sign up using the promo code ‘bet10get10’ and make a minimum deposit of £10 Place a min £10 bet on any selection with min odds of evens (2) and receive a £10 Free Bet. Cashed Out or void bets will not qualify for a welcome bonus. Build-a-Bets will not count towards this promotion. Each-way bets must have a minimum £20 total stake to qualify for a welcome bonus. Bets taken with SP will not qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply.
Money Back As A Bonus Up To £40 If Your First Racing Bet Loses + £10 casino
get offer
AD 18+ New customers only. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus if first bet loses. Wagering requirements: sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 50x. Unless forfeited the sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Bonus expires 7 days after opt-in. No deposit required for NI customers. Call 08081699314 to claim. Full T&Cs apply.
Bet £10, Get £30 in Free Bets
get offer
#AD 18+, New customers only. Opt in, bet £10 on any sports (odds 2.00+) in 7 days. No cash out. Get 4x£5 sports free bets for set markets (odds 2.00+), expires in 7 days. Offer valid from 10:00 UK time on 16/01/2023. Card payments only. T&Cs Apply. | Please Gamble Responsibly
Bet £10 Get A £30 Free Bet
get offer
#AD Qualifying real money bet of £10. Min odds greater than or equal to 1.5 required. E/W bets excluded. Offer awarded immediately but could be issued the next working day in exceptional circumstances such as technical fault. Additional T&Cs apply. Please gamble responsibly.
Up to £50 Free Bet + £20 Casino Bonus
get offer
#AD New Customers Only. If your Sportsbook account shows a net loss by the end of the first day (day ends at 23:59), you'll be awarded a Free Bet equivalent to 50% of the losses, up to £50, plus a £20 Casino Bonus. Terms and conditions apply.
Double The Odds On Any UK Horse Race!
get offer
#AD 18+ New Grosvenor registrations only, Bet must be placed using real money in combination with the Odds Boost Token, Offer applies to Sport bets only. Max stake £10. Each way bets are a max of £5 each way (£10 total). Odds Boost token expires after 60 days. T&Cs apply.
50% Up To £50 Welcome Bonus
get offer
#AD 18+; New bettors get 50% of deposit up to £50; Once per household; Min deposit £15 (no Skrill/Neteller); Wager a total of 8 times deposit + bonus, with max qualifying bet stake equal to your initial bonus amount; Bonus expires after 60 days; Min odds of 4/5 on singles, or 2/5 per leg for acca; Some bet types excluded; See full terms.
Bet £10 Get £20 In Free Bets
get offer
#AD. New members. £10 min deposit & bet on sportsbook, placed & settled at 1.5 min odds within 14 days of sign-up. Win part of each-way bets only. 2 non-withdrawable £10 Free Bet Tokens: Valid for 7 days from acceptance (ex. each-way & multiple bets), stakes not returned. **Max Free Bet £10. Free Bet: non-withdrawable, use in 7 days on sportsbook only. Stake not returned. Full T&C's apply. Bet Responsibly. 18+
Bet £10 get £20 in Free Bets
get offer
#AD 18+ New members only. £10 min deposit & bet on sportsbook, placed & settled at 1.5 min odds within 14 days of sign-up. Win part of E/W bets. 2 non-withdrawable £10 Free Bet Tokens: accept in 7 days, valid for 7 days from crediting (ex. E/Ws & Multiples), stakes not returned. T&Cs apply,
£30 Matched Free Bet if Your First Acca Loses + 50 Bonus Spins
get offer
#AD 18+ New UK customers only. £5 Min Deposit, max free bet: £30. 1st bet on a Football or Horse Racing multiple with 3+ selections. Overall odds: 3.00 (2/1) or higher. Free Bets upon settlement of the qualifying bet. Offer valid for 7 days of account registration. 50 Bonus Spins credited on placement of qualifying Acca bet.50x bonus wagering applies & weighting requirements, Bonus spins available on selected games & expires 7 days. Debit card deposits only (excl. apply). Full T&Cs apply
Bet £10 Get £30 in Free Bets
get offer
#AD 18+. Play Safe. From 00:01 on 18.10.2022. £30 bonus, credited as 3x £10 bets. New customers only. Minimum £10 stake on odds of 1/2 (1.5) or greater on sportsbook (excluding Virtual markets). Further terms apply.
50% Back Up to £60 Back In Free Bets
get offer
# AD 18+ | New Customer Only – Promo Code: NEWWELCOME60 required | 50% back on net LOSSES over your first 3 calendar days | requires min 3 x£10 qualifying bets in same 3 days| Min return £l free bet | T&Cs apply | UK residents using debit card | Please gamble responsibly
Bet £10 Get £30 Free Bet
get offer
#AD New Players Only. Min £10 qualifying bets stake not returned. Free bet - one-time stake of £30, min odds 1.5, stake not returned. 1X wager the winnings. Wager from real balance first. Wager calculated on bonus bets only. Max conversion: £200. Valid for 7 Days from issue. Withdrawal requests void all active/pending bonuses. Excluded Skrill and Neteller deposits. Full Terms apply.
Bet £25 Get £50 In Bonuses
get offer
#AD Place a qualifying £25 fixed odds bet at odds of 1/2 or greater and get £50 in bonuses 5 x £5 free fixed odds bets, 4 x free £5 spread bets + 50 free spins on Starburst. Qualifying bet cannot be placed in-play or cashed out early. T&Cs Apply. 18+
Bet £10 Get £30 In Free Bets
get offer
#AD New customers online only. £/€10 min stake (if EW then min £/€10 Win + £/€10 Place). Receive £/€30 Tote Credit within 48 hours of qualifying bet settlement. 7 day expiry. Qualifying bet is the first racing pool bet added to the bet-slip. 18+. Full T&Cs apply.
Up to £35 Free Bet + 10 Free Spins
get offer
#AD 18+ If your account has Sportsbook losses at the end of first day's betting, get 50% refund of your losses as a Free Bet up to £35 (min 3 bets) Plus 10 Free Spins. Even if account is up, guaranteed a £5 Free Bet Plus 10 Free Spins provided you place at least 1 bet of £10 or greater at the minimum odds. T&Cs apply | New UK Customers Only |
150% Casino Bonus (Up To £150)
get offer
#AD 18+  New casino accounts only. Min. £10 deposit, debit card only. Up to 50x wagering, game contributions vary, max. stake applies, 7-day expiry. Full T&Cs apply. 32Red match your first deposit amount up to £150, e.g. Deposit £100, 32Red will match up to 150% = Bonus of £150. Gamble responsibly.
100% Profit Boost up to £100 (Mobile Only)
get offer
#AD New UK customers only. Claim by placing a min deposit £10 via "My Offers" page within 30 days. Skrill/Neteller deposits excluded. 7 days to stake max £10 in-play. Max. extra winnings £100.T&C's apply, 18+