Long Walk Hurdle Review: Andy Gibson takes a closer look back at Boxing Day's outcome

Horse racing analyst Andy Gibson offers a retrospective insight into Boxing Day's Long Walk Hurdle, examining the runners' performances and what they might tell us about what lies ahead.

Champ's loss is Paisley Park's gain

I doubt the race could have gone any better for Paisley Park, nor, at the same time, any worse for Champ.

The winner benefitted from being held up behind a very busy lead, which allowed his rider to take his time with this ten-year-old.

He was badly outpaced before the turn for home and appeared beaten at this point of the race. However, the leader had endured a particularly tough trip round and ultimately paid a heavy price by finishing legless from before the final hurdle to the winning line.

This in turn accentuated the winning margin for this winner and made him far more pleasing to the eye than his performance merited.

Did Goshen stay the trip?

Goshen will be marked up by many as having proved his stamina for this extended three-mile trip, but I very much doubt this is the case as the race could not have gone any worse for the eventual third horse to finish.

Goshen benefitted from the favourite tiring badly in the closing stages, and still only managed to finish half-a-length in front of him, despite enjoying a much smoother passage through the race.

What went wrong for Champ?

As for Champ, well, for the second race in a row his jockey felt compelled to go from the front, and he could not have endured a more difficult trip throughout the race as a consequence.

He was taken on by Not So Sleepy for much of the race, and when that one cried enough the mare Miranda came to challenge well before the turn for home. Her effort soon petered out, leaving Goshen as his nearest challenger entering the home straight.

Champ seemed to have the measure of the Gary Moore horse and still appeared to be in control jumping the second last hurdle. He was joined at the final hurdle by the eventual winner and jumped in such a tired and hesitant manner that he was also overtaken by Goshen immediately after the final flight.

What next for Champ and Paisley Park?

The first two horses to finish were significantly advantaged by the way the race was run, and I doubt there is much between Champ and Paisley Park on the balance of a few recent performances against each other.

Based on how this race unfolded in the closing stages, the market will, for now, hopefully much prefer the latter the next time they meet, which in turn may create a betting opportunity to consider.

Latest news