Long Walk Hurdle

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The Long Walk Hurdle is a Grade 1 race over three miles and one furlong at Ascot in December.

The Long Walk hurdle takes place on the 23rd of December 2023.

The race is an important early season trial for the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Horses to win both races in the same season include Big Buck’s, Thistlecrack and Paisley Park.

Find out more about the Long Walk Hurdle:

Long Walk Hurdle

Race Overview – The Long Walk Hurdle

Horses must be four years old or older to compete in the Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle, the Long Walk Hurdle.

There are twelve hurdles to clear during the race, which is run at Ascot over a distance of around 3 miles and 1 furlong (3 miles and 97 yards, or 5,029 metres). The race happens in early December.

Famous Long Walk Hurdle Winners

The Long Walk Hurdle was first run as a handicap in 1965 before being upgraded to a conditions race in 1971. It quickly became established as one of the most prestigious staying races of the season and was given Grade 1 status in 1990.

Fred Winter’s Derring Rose (1980-1981) was the first Long Walk Hurdle winner to go on to victory in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham. His Festival victory was down to the perseverance of jockey John Francome with the horse looking beaten for much of the contest.

Francois Doumen trained Baracouda to win the Long Walk Hurdle four times in five seasons between 2000 and 2004. His winning sequence was interrupted in 2002 when unable to catch runaway leader Deano’s Beeno.

Big Buck’s dominated the Long Walk Hurdle from 2009 to 2011. Besides his three victories in this race, he also won four Stayers’ Hurdles, four Liverpool Hurdles and four Long Distance Hurdles. Reve De Sivola won the next three renewals but he never won the Stayer’s crown. Nick Williams trained the gelding who was always better suited to Ascot than Cheltenham.

The race has continued to provide clues to the outcome of the Stayers’ Hurdle in more recent times. Thistlecrack (2015) and Paisley Park (2018) also won the Stayer’s Hurdle in the same season.

Paisley Park won a second Long Walk Hurdle in 2020 to add his name to the impressive list of multiple winners.

Long Walk Hurdle Previous Result

Key Long Walk Hurdle Trials

The Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury is often the best guide to the outcome in this event. Eight of the last twelve winners had run at Newbury on their previous start, four of them winning and two placed.

The Grade 2 Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham is the next major target for the top stayers. Eight of the last twelve Long Walk Hurdle winners went on to contest the Cleeve Hurdle next time. Five of those horses completed the double, the most recent being Paisley Park (2018-19). Only Reve De Sivola (2012 and 2013) and Champ (2021) were beaten in the Cleeve Hurdle after winning the Long Walk.

Sam Spinner (2017) went straight to the Stayers’ Hurdle where he finished fifth.

Age is not a significant factor in Long Walk Hurdle with a wide range of horses winning from five to ten. Punchestowns (2008) and Sam Spinner (2017) were among the five-year-olds to win here while Floyd (1990) and Deano’s Beeno (2002) were successful at the age of ten.

There have been seven winning favourites in the last twelve seasons and shock results are rare.

Big Buck’s started odds-on favourite for all three of his victories from 2009 to 2011. Thistlecrack (2015) and Unowhatimeanharry (2016) were also strongly supported in the Long Walk Hurdle betting, returning at 2-1 and 6-5 respectively.

Although Reve De Sivola was a standing dish for the Long Walk Hurdle, he did not start favourite for any of his three victories (2012-2014).

The longest-priced winner in the Long Walk Hurdle odds in recent seasons was Lough Derg (2007) at 14-1.

No winner has returned at greater odds than Paisley Park’s 8-1 (2018) since.

Half of the recent winners had won on their last outing and ten of the last twelve winners had raced within the previous five weeks.

Another key factor is stamina with most recent winners having previous winning form at three miles or further.

This is one of the highest class staying hurdle races of the season and all but two of the last twelve winners had already won at least once at Grade 1 level.

An official handicap rating of 152 or higher is usually required to win this race.

Big Buck’s was the highest officially rated staying hurdler in history with a mark of 174.

Long Walk Hurdle – Top Trainers and Jockeys

Richard Johnson is the leading rider in the history of the Long Walk Hurdle with four winners; Anzum (1999), Mighty Man (2006) and Reve de Sivola (2012, 2013).

Tony McCoy won the race three times; Deano’s Beano (2002), Baracouda (2004) and Big Buck’s (2010).

The four victories of Baracouda have left Francois Doumen as the leading trainer in the race. He remains one ahead of Paul Nicholls, Nick Williams and Fred Winter who have three apiece.

Betting on the Long Walk Hurdle

The Long Walk Hurdle is one of the best guides to the Stayers Hurdle at Cheltenham and often establishes a clear favourite for that event.

Many of the greatest stayers in history have won here on the road to the Festival.

Popular Questions

What are important facts about Long Walk Hurdle?

Here are some important facts about Long Walk Hurdle:

  • The Long Walk Hurdle is run at Ascot Racecourse, Great Britain
  • The Long Walk Hurdle is for horses aged 4+
  • The Long Walk Hurdle is a National Hunt hurdle race in Great Britain
  • The Long Walk Hurdle distance is 3 miles and 1 furlong

Summary of the Long Walk Hurdle

Thank you for reading our Long Walk Hurdle guide.

We have looked at the history, previous winners, betting and tips.

The race is one of the top staying hurdles of the season and has been won by many top-class horses over the years.

There are more races in December that you might enjoy, so make sure you check them out.

Check out our Ascot tips page if you enjoy watching races at Ascot Racecourse.