Howden Long Walk Hurdle
Grade 1, Ascot 14:25
£110,000 guaranteed
4yo plus,
3m 97y, Class 1  
Saturday 23rd December 2023

1 Crambo 5/1
2 Paisley Park 6/1
3 Dashel Drasher 17/2
10 ran Distances: shd, 6l, 3l
Time: 5m 59.41s (slow by 4.41s)

Paisley Park aimed to equal Baracouda's four wins in the Grade One contest covering an extended three miles but conceded to Crambo, a younger contender by five years, granting trainer Fergal O'Brien his second elite-level success.

Dashel Drasher assumed a customary prominent position, and midway through the race, all 10 runners were closely grouped with only a few lengths between them. As the contenders approached the last four flights, Paisley Park positioned himself more favorably than usual. Tom Bellamy issued a challenge between the final hurdles, but simultaneously, Jonathan Burke initiated his move. The duo cleared the last obstacle together, setting the stage for a competitive sprint to the finish.

The race's outcome remained uncertain until the final stretch when Crambo, a 5-1 chance, secured victory by a short head. This marked Fergal O'Brien's first Grade One triumph since Poetic Rhythm in 2017.


“He never knows he’s beat,” said O’Brien. “The horse is still very young and I can’t believe he is here winning a Grade One – I could tell two furlongs out he was going to get there. 

“He’s a bull of a horse, Noel Fehily bred him with Jared (Sullivan, co-owner) and Noel always has him home and pre-trains him and has done a great job with him.

“He’s unique, Noel was telling me today he was two weeks’ premature and the mum foaled herself and he is just one of those – you honestly wouldn’t know he was in the place at home, he’s so straightforward. 

“We took him away a couple of weeks ago because I wanted Johnny to have a sit on him and because I didn’t want Johnny to get to the races and think, ‘I’m not getting much of a feel here’, because that is just Crambo.

“He said he didn’t give him much of a feel, but I said just trust him on the day and that is what he did – and I can’t thank Johnny enough, he’s given him a fantastic ride.”


O’Brien had taken the tough decision to choose Burke ahead of Crambo’s regular rider Connor Brace. 

He added: “Johnny has been riding in Grade Ones since he was 18 years of age. It was my decision, I’ve never hidden behind the owners and I just felt coming here today, I needed to tick all the boxes.

“Connor has done a fantastic job and to be honest, Connor has made this horse over the years. 

“This horse hasn’t arrived here today the finished article, this is down to what Connor and all the team at home have put into him, which is what you see today.”

Crambo was cut to 8-1 for the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham by QuinnBet, Coral and Paddy Power.

“I’m very lucky that I have very good owners and I will speak to them when I get home, and speak to Neil (Jukes, race planner), who does our entries, and see where we go. 

“I personally don’t think he needs another run before Cheltenham, but we will see.

“We’ll take it one race at a time and it’s only my second Grade One and I’ve been training 12 years. It’s been a long time between drinks and the first one was very important to me because it belonged to Chris Cooley, who I wouldn’t be here without and I’m absolutely delighted.”

Winning jockey Burke added: “The last time he tried Graded company, he finished about seventh, so it was obviously a big step up and he needed to step up and thankfully he did.

“He travelled through the race great, jumped brilliant and his jumping was probably as slick as ever – and he battled well from the back of two out. 

“It all went smoothly and I got a lovely position and his jumping kept me there. I was kind of wary of him hitting a flat spot but that never happened and as soon I straightened up, myself and Paisley had a great battle and it was kind of what the race was set up to be – those older horses against the young ones coming through. 

“He’s definitely thrown his name into the staying hurdling division now. If he keeps improving on what he has done today, then he will surely be a force to be reckoned with.” 

On replacing Brace, Burke said: “I’m there to do a job and get on the horse and ride him. You can get distracted by all the stuff beforehand but once you get on the horse’s back, it’s just another race. 

“He travelled and jumped great and from the bottom of the straight he was always going to battle. It’s what we do it for, these Saturdays and the Graded races, so it is great.”


Long Walk Hurdle
£110,000 guaranteed, 4yo plus, 3m 97y, Class 1
10 ran
Going: Good, Good to Soft in places

1    Crambo 6 11-7 Fergal O'Brien Jonathan Burke 5/1
shd Paisley Park 11 11-7 Emma Lavelle Tom Bellamy 6/1
6 Dashel Drasher 10 11-7 Jeremy Scott Rex Dingle 17/2
3 Champ 11 11-7 Nicky Henderson Jonjo O'Neill Jr 11/2
Blueking D'Oroux 4 11-6 Paul Nicholls Harry Cobden 9/1
6 ½ Botox Has 7 11-7 Gary Moore Caoilin Quinn 9/1
Gowel Road 7 11-7 Nigel Twiston-Davies Gavin Sheehan 10/1
Red Risk 8 11-7 Paul Nicholls Bryony Frost 25/1
Goshen 7 11-7 Gary Moore Niall Houlihan 33/1
24 West Balboa 7 11-0 Dan Skelton Harry Skelton 3/1F


Race run as a handicap prior to 1971
(run at Newbury in 2009, Chepstow in 2005 and Windsor in 2004)

Year Winner Age/Wt Owner Trainer Jockey SP

2021 CHAMP
2011 BIG BUCK’S 8-11-07 The Stewart Family Paul Nicholls AP McCoy 3/10F
2010 BIG BUCK’S 7-11-07 The Stewart Family Paul Nicholls AP McCoy 2/13F
2009 BIG BUCK’S 6-11-07 The Stewart Family Paul Nicholls Ruby Walsh 1/2F
2008 PUNCHESTOWNS 5-11-07 Judy Wilson Nicky Henderson Barry Geraghty 3/1F
2007 LOUGH DERG 7-11-07 W Frewen David Pipe Tom Scudamore 14/1
2006 MIGHTY MAN 6-11-07 Joss Hanbury Henry Daly Richard Johnson 11/8F
2005 MY WAY DE SOLZEN 5-11-07 B Windfield, A Longman, J Wright, C Fenton; Alan King Robert Thornton 12/1
2004 BARACOUDA 9-11-07 J P McManus Francois Doumen FR Tony McCoy 8/13F
2003 BARACOUDA 8-11-07 J P McManus Francois Doumen FR Thierry Doumen 2/7F
2002 DEANO’S BEENO 10-11-07 Axom Martin Pipe Tony McCoy 14/1
2001 BARACOUDA 6-11-07 J P McManus Francois Doumen FR Thierry Doumen 2/5F
2000 BARACOUDA 5-11-07 Roger Barby Francois Doumen FR Thierry Doumen 11/4
1999 ANZUM 8-11-07 Old Foresters P’ship Alan King Richard Johnson 4/1
1998 PRINCEFUL 7-11-07 Robert Hitchins Jenny Pitman Richard Dunwoody 11/4F
1997 PADDY’S RETURN 5-11-07 Paddy O’Donnell Ferdy Murphy Norman Williamson 8/1
1996 OCEAN HAWK 4-11-07 Matt Archer/Jean Broadhurst Nigel Twiston-Davies Carl Llewellyn 7/1
1995 SILVER WEDGE 4-11-07 Shirley & Bill Robins Oliver Sherwood Jamie Osborne 7/1
1994 HEBRIDEAN 7-11-07 Peter Deal David Nicholson Adrian Maguire 100/30
1993 SWEET DUKE 6-11-07 Andy Mavrou Nigel Twiston-Davies Carl Llewellyn 7/2
1992 VAGOG 7-11-07 M A Swift Martin Pipe Martin Foster 15/2
1991 Abandoned due to frost
1990 FLOYD 10-11-07 Mike Walsh David Elsworth Graham Bradley 10/1
1989 ROYAL ATHLETE 6-10-08 Gary Johnson Jenny Pitman Dean Gallagher 33/1
1988 FRENCH GOBLIN 5-11-01 Maurice Pinto Josh Gifford Peter Hobbs 3/1
1987 BLUFF COVE 5-10-08 Dickins Ltd Reg Hollinshead Richard Dunwoody 14/1
1986 OUT OF THE GLOOM 5-10-08 Paul Green Reg Hollinshead Peter Scudamore 4/1
1985 MISTY DALE 7-10-08 David Rose Jenny Pitman Phil Tuck 9/4F
1984 KRISTENSON 7-10-08 Ursula Fantasia Roger Fisher Michael Williams 7/2
1983 CRIMSON EMBERS 8-10-11 Pam Smart Fulke Walwyn Stuart Shilston 14/1
1982 MAYOTTE 7-10-11 B Davies Richard Holder Paul Richards 15/8F
1981 Abandoned due to snow
1980 DERRING ROSE 5-11-11 Peter Savill Fred Winter John Francome 7/1
1979 JOHN CHERRY 8-10-11 Milton Ritzenberg Tom Jones Steve Smith Eccles 6/1
1978 KELSO CHANT 6-11-07 Mrs M Richardson Jumbo Wilkinson Steve Charlton 10/1
1977 JOHN CHERRY 6-10-11 Milton Ritzenberg Tom Jones Steve Smith Eccles 11/8F
1976 Abandoned due to frost
1975 LANZAROTE 7-12-05 Lord Howard de Walden Fred Winter John Francome 4/9F
1974 GO BINGO 5-11-12 Guy Reed Sam Hall David Munro 9/4
1973 SOLONING 8-11-08 Mrs C Thornton Fred Winter Richard Pitman 9/2
1972 HIGHLAND ABBE 6-11-12 Mrs K Hankey Les Kennard Mr R Smith 11/1
1971 ST PATRICK’S BLUE 6-11-12 P Aunger David Tatlow Bill Smith 7/2F
1970 ROUGE AUTUMN 6-10-05 Bryan Jenks Fred Rimell Ken White 9/2F
1969 CANDID CAMERA 6-10-06 R F P Ross Ted Goddard Joe Guest 100/8
1968 Abandoned due to waterlogging
1967 Abandoned due to foot and mouth epidemic
1966 SIR EDWARD 6-10-09 R Heaton Ryan Price Josh Gifford 7/2F
1965 MINUTE GUN 8-10-04 Bill Shand Kydd Bill Shand Kydd Richard Pitman 100/8

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