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Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle (Grade 2)
Long Distance Hurdle tips for December’s Grade 2 race. There is potential for this race to be an absolute cracker, with two titans confirmed as being lined up for this renewal of the contest. Read on for our free betting tips, predictions and analysis.
There is only one starting point for this preview and it’s the monster named Thistlecrack, who won the 2016 Stayer’s Hurdle at a literal canter for Colin Tizzard. He won nine races in a row from November 2015 onwards, improving beyond comprehension before announcing himself as a Gold Cup contender with a dominant win in the King George of 2016. He wasn’t however able to take his chance after suffering a setback, last seen at Prestbury Park in one of the races of the season against the great Many Clouds. He is one of the best horses in training and he goes well fresh, so there is no doubting that he’ll go off a warm order if taking his chance.
He will face some stern opposition though from Unowhatimeanharry, who won the Champion Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown in April when reversing terms with his Cheltenham Festival conqueror Nichols Canyon. He returned this season with a win at Aintree in November, running over an inadequate trip but he showed resolve to win going away at the finish. He won this race twelve months ago with an impressive performance and he’ll be putting up strong resistance, especially if the ground is softer.
The step up to this distance paid dividends for the mare Colin’s Sister at Wetherby on her seasonal debut, getting back on track to win the West Yorkshire Hurdle in good style. She was held up before sweeping to the lead three out, brushing off a last flight blunder to go clear on the run-in. She is entitled to come on for that run and remains lightly raced, with potential for much better over this distance. She can only be given each way claims against two top-class hurdlers, but she’s likely to be a good price for the minor money.
She will need to fend off Wholestone though, who wasn’t beaten far by that rival on the day. It was a disappointing run all the same after a good appearance at Chepstow in October, not using the fitness edge to good effect in that battle. He remains with potential in staying races, but does look vulnerable against some very classy rivals who will demand a career best by a huge margin.