Unowhatimeanharry faces ten in Long Walk Hurdle

Unowhatimeanharry is out to cement his World Hurdle claims

PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos) Unowhatimeanharry faces ten in Long Walk By Keith Melrose 11:21AM 15 DEC 2016

WORLD HURDLE fancy Unowhatimeanharry will face ten rivals in Saturday's JLT Long Walk Hurdle, provisionally the biggest field for the race since Punchestowns beat Duc De Regniere by 11 lengths in 2008.

The prospect of big stars or testing ground has often frightened runners away from the Long Walk, but good to soft ground at Ascot coupled with a dry forecast means that the latter is unlikely to be a problem.

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Unowhatimeanharry was an impressive winner of Newbury's Long Distance Hurdle last month and is joint-favourite on some lists for the World Hurdle, but he is evidently not foreboding enough yet to deter others from taking him on.

According to the market, the 11-8 favourite (bet365) will face his sternest test in Lil Rockerfeller (6-1), beaten less than a length by Yanworth in the Ascot Hurdle.

Close behind in the betting are Ballyoptic, Ptit Zig and Alex De Larredya. The last-named is trained by Francois Nicolle and since finishing second to Ptit Zig in the French Champion Hurdle has become one of his country's top performers, winning last month's Grand Prix d'Automne on his latest start.

Also declared are three-time former winner Reve De Sivola and Zarkandar, runner-up in 2014. Un Temps Pour Tout, another former winner of the French Champion Hurdle, is also set to run.

The field is completed by Shelford, West Approach and Surtee Du Berlais. Of the 13 entered at the five-day stage, only Kotkikova and The Romford Pele were not declared.

Hargam heads Wessex 19

There were similarly few surprises in the declared field of 19 for the Wessex Youth Trust Handicap Hurdle on the same card. Of the market principals, only the Gordon Elliot-trained Mick Jazz was withdrawn.

Hargam heads the weights, while market leaders Jolly's Cracked It and Meet The Legend also feature. Golden Spear, one of three for Tony Martin, is at the foot of the weights.

Select fields for Friday novices

As expected, Jenkins was not among the declarations for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Trial on Friday. Thomas Campbell and Lough Derg Spirit will represent Nicky Henderson instead. Capitaine, Keep In Line, Bue Surf and Captain Forez complete the sextet.

In the following Mitie Noel Novices' Chase, also a Grade 2, four will go to post. They are the Paul Nicholls-trained Politologue, Rock The Kasbah, Royal Vacation and Captain Chaos.

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