Great Britain

Newbury Betting Preview: Tips, racecard and analysis for the Grade 2 Long Distance Hurdle this Friday

A massive weekend of action kicks off with the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury on Friday, where top stayer Paisley Park returns to the fray.

Last year's superstar is hot favourite for the big race but will face a tough test against some proven rivals.

How will the race be run?

With only five runners in the race, this could get tactical.

Beer Goggles is the obvious front-runner, having won the contest adopting the same tactics two years ago.

He's most likely to take them along, but expect him to bottom out fairly early on after so long off the track.

That said, The Worlds End never saw another rival when thrashing Unowhatimeanharry on his return at Wetherby, and it could just be the McNeill family reckon he's best on the attack.

Whatever happens, Paisley Park will be held up for his customary final-furlong charge.

It's a race packed full of intrigue, with Thistlecrack and Unowhatimeanharry also likely to come with withering late bursts.

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Who will be fit and who won't?

Emma Lavelle said of Paisley Park last week that “Newbury has always been the target. We want to extend his season at the other end rather than overburning him early on.

“I brought him in late because I knew we were going to do that but in actual fact we’ve needed all the time possible to get him back.”

Chances are the brilliant handler will have her charge spot on for this - a victory would be the perfect to start to his campaign and would lead him nicely into the Long Walk at Ascot, if connections decide to go down that route.

Joe Tizzard implied Thistlecrack will be using this as a pipe-opener ahead of another crack at the King George, so he's unlikely to be at peak fitness, while it would be some training performance to have Beer Goggles at racing pitch.

However, there should be no problems in that regard for either The Worlds End or Unowhatimeanharry, who both had a nice warm-up for this in the West Yorkshire Hurdle at Wetherby.

Is Paisley Park a good thing?

In short, probably.

He was far and away the best staying hurdler last year and if returns in anything like the kind of form that saw him win a Stayers' Hurdle, then he's surely unbeatable.

Well-being is the only query but Emma Lavelle is an underrated trainer and she knows how to get them ready to go.

He'll relish conditions and the harder they go up front, the better.

So then, where do I put my money?

A forecast looks the best play here, with Paisley Park the obvious player for the win and The Worlds End holding a big chance of landing second.

Tom George's eight-year-old turned his form around on return and could be the one to serve it up to the favourite.

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