Crambo narrowly beats Paisley Park at Ascot in Long Walk Hurdle

Over the past 14 years, Fergal O’Brien has transported 48 horses from his Gloucestershire yard to Cheltenham’s Festival meeting, but he has never returned home with a win. However, his hopes for breaking his Festival duck may have been ignited by Crambo, the narrow victor of the Grade One Long Walk Hurdle. Dysart Enos, another horse from O’Brien’s stable, is the favorite for the Mares’ Novice Hurdle, but Crambo is now a strong contender for the Stayers’ Hurdle earlier that same day after defeating Paisley Park by a narrow margin.

A victory for Paisley Park would have placed the 11-year-old alongside the legendary Baracouda as a four-time winner of the Long Walk, so Crambo’s triumph may not have been the desired outcome for most spectators. However, it was a significant moment for O’Brien and jockey Jonathan Burke, who replaced Connor Brace for Saturday’s Grade One contest.

O’Brien expressed his admiration for Crambo’s tenacity, stating, “He never knows he’s beat. He’s still very young and I can’t believe he’s here, winning a Grade One. I could tell two furlongs out he was going to get there. He’s a bull of a horse.” O’Brien also commended Noel Fehily, the former jockey who pre-trained Crambo and played a crucial role in his development.

Although O’Brien has consistently ranked in the top 10 trainers for the past three seasons, this was only his second Grade One victory. Henderson, on the other hand, enjoyed a successful day with two wins at Haydock before Boxing Day, when Shishkin and Constitution Hill will compete at Kempton Park.

Henderson expressed his satisfaction with his yard’s current form, acknowledging that good periods could be followed by downturns: “It’s always nice when the horses are running well. You’ve got to make the most of it because you can get bad patches, but they are being very well behaved at the moment. [But] it doesn’t make me any less nervous for Tuesday as they are all doing different things.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *