Get ready for the Dec 22 Horse Racing betting tips. It’s the final Saturday of horse racing before Christmas and we can allow ourselves a brief look back on what has been another incredible season, with high drama, controversy and plenty of big priced winners. One more chance to ensure bookies pay for our festive period and we’re determined to make it happen for followers.
There’s plenty for horse racing enthusiasts to enjoy this weekend with ITV, ATR and Racing UK providing the live coverage. Bookmakers have, as you would expect, put in the work to make a bet more attractive and they have every major race covered, including each leg on what promises to be a cracker at Ascot.
Long Walk Hurdle
The Long Walk Hurdle is a Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle race decided over a distance of 3m 1f on the turf of the world-famous Ascot racecourse in Berkshire. With a history tracking back to 1965, it has become one of the favourites of punters and a real sign we are fast-approaching a jam-packed festive period. Christmas is on the horizon but there’s still time to bank the proceeds of a nice priced winner before the big day.
The first instalment of this thriller was won by St Patrick’s Blue who etched his name into the history books when scoring under the ride of Bill Smith for trainer David Tatlow. He was the first of two six-year-olds to win this race in each of the first two runnings, the other being Highland Abbe for Les Kennard 12 months later.
The recent version of this intriguing G1 offers a whopping £100,000 worth of prize money with the bulk of that, £56,950, paid out to the winner. Sam Spinner banked the cheque for connections last year when becoming the latest in a long line of champions. Ridden by Joe Colliver, the gelding took the title previously owned by UnowhatImeanharry, holding runner-up L’Ami Serge by just shy of three lengths. A full deserving winner and backers cheered him home at a starting price of 9/2. Defending champion, and pre-race favourite, UnowhatImeanharry could do no better than third.
What the Stats Say
It’s always worth putting in the leg-work and finding out if any clues can be taken from the trends and past runnings of this contest. Our team of horse racing experts and sports betting lovers are happy to do the hard work on your behalf.
Reve Di Sivola won this race three years on the bounce between 2012 and 2014; this followed on from the hat-trick scored by Big Bucks between 2009 and 2011. Neither was good enough to be crowned the race’s most successful runner; that medal goes to Baracouda who did four, coming home in front in 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2004. That will take some beating; however, we think it’s only a matter of time before we see another big name come through to dominate.
The leading jockey to date, also on four wins, is pilot Richard Johnson. The Englishman owes that success to Anzum who won in 1999; Mighty Man, 2006; before he guided Reve Di Sivola to a couple of victories, in charge for wins in 2012 and 2013.
Taking a brief look at the leading trainer and that is altered by the success of Barracuda. Those four wins were enough to put trainer Francois Doumen at the top of the pile; however, his success ended at the same time his prized asset bowed out.
Age doesn’t appear to be vitally important when seeking out the winner of this race as each of the last four winners have carried a different number: Sam Spinner 5YO; Unowhatimeanharry 8YO; Thistlecrack 7YO and Reve Di Sivola 9YO. Not a lot can be taken from that; it’s not a great source due to the dominance of a few horses who won year after year, with five runners responsible for the last nine champions.
What the Bookies Think
Bookmakers think they have their winner and were consistent during the ante-post betting. They have thrown the weight of their support behind Call Me Lord, currently available at 5/2 – top price when getting your stake money down at Ladbrokes.
Nicky Henderson has won this race only once before, with Punchestowns in 2008; however, he looks to have a great chance to relive former glories a decade later. Call Me Lord has won three of his six starts to date, placing on each of the other three occasions. He started with a debut win at Compeigne in France before arriving in the UK to make a winning bow at Sandown last spring.
The bay has done nothing but progress since and arrives at track on the back of an impressive cheer at Sandown last time out, claiming the Select Hurdle. A Grade 2 contest caerainly. There’s no doubt this is a step up in class; however, he smashed runner-up Lil Rockerfeller by a jaw-dropping 16 lengths that day, proving the time of right to move him on.
Old Favourite Back for More
Interestingly, old favourite, Unowhatimeanharry, is expected to return for more this year. Traders think if he does, he will take all the beating. He’s second favourite at the time of writing with Ladbrokes again giving best odds of 9/2. That’s sure to catch the attention of a few punters, especially those who have backed him in the past and know he owes them nothing.
Paisley Park stands as third-fav; that’s where the prices start to get interesting with 8/1 available in places. That rates as a handy each-way option with backers finding place terms of 1/5 the odds a place 1-2-3 if deciding to take that safety net. Paisley Park has won three and finished second another three times from seven races.
That suggests an E/W poke will give you a real run for your money and that’s the way we intend to play this one. He’s good enough on paper and if we get the kind of improvement we’re expecting, there’s no reason why he can’t ask questions of the two ahead of him in the betting.