The Long Walk stayers’ hurdle run at Ascot tomorrow likely sees the up and coming five-year-old Thomas Campbell pitched into his first Grade 1, by trainer Nicky Henderson.
Clearly, Henderson thinks he is up to the task, despite having to find 9lbs on ratings with likely favourite Unowhatimeanharry. Given the horse’s improving profile, winning both his races this season, it is not difficult to concur with the trainer’s thinking on this occasion. Thomas Campbell’s last race was a Listed handicap, which he won readily and ,although the form has not been franked, he was visually impressive.
Unowhatimeanharry ,on the other hand ,was not able to peg back the 152 rated Beer Goggles in a Grade 2 at Newbury last month. As Thomas Campbell is rated 158 tomorrow, and is around 11/2 currently, he does look the value in the race. Lil Rockerfeller is a consistent horse at this level, but probably does not truly get an extended three miles, so is passed over as a saver in favour of Taquin Du Seuil (each way), who ran in that same Newbury race, finishing a close third, on only his first run of the season.
The Long Walk is always an in interesting race to watch, with a view to the Stayers’ hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival next March, so if Henderson is right about Thomas Campbell, the horse might also keep us out of the soup then, too. The King George VI Chase at Kempton Park is the highlight of racing on Boxing day.
Might Bite is a very short price to win, but probably has the class to win it, no matter his price. If the ground came up soft or heavy, Bristol De Mai would be interesting, with Thistlecrack not an unbackable proposition at around 6/1 to repeat last year’s impressive success, if back on song.
By James Daly