Baracouda shock Long Walk absentee

BARACOUDA will miss the totesport Long Walk Hurdle at Windsor on Saturday after an administrative error at Francois Doumen's yard ruled the French ace out of this weekend's showpiece.

The 10-year-old has taken the Grade One race on four occasions, and beat Crystal D’Ainay by three-quarters of a length 12 months ago to add to his wins in 2000, 2001 and 2003.

Owner JP McManus’ racing manager Frank Berry said: “Everything is fine, it was just a clerical error and he wasn’t confirmed.

“I wouldn’t have any idea at this stage where he will go instead.”

His arch rival in the stayers’ division and Ladbrokes World Hurdle winner Inglis Drever heads the nine left in at the five-day stage, with trainer Howard Johnson also confirming No Refuge.

Cashmans make the six-year-old their 4-9 favourite, with Crystal D’Ainay, third to Inglis Drever and Baracouda in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury last month, an 8-1 chance.

His trainer Alan King said: “He is an intended runner and is in grand form.

“It is very unlikely we can beat Inglis Drever, but it is a big prize and we have got to give it a crack - it takes more than one horse to make a horse race.”

Jonjo O’Neill’s Hasty Prince could have his first crack at the marathon extended three mile one trip, while last year’s Challow Hurdle winner Brewster is a possible for Ian Williams.

Nigel Twiston-Davies has two entries in the shape of Mistanoora, who hasn’t run since November last year, and last month’s Greatwood Hurdle runner-up Tramantano.

Hughie Morrison’s Starzaan and the Charlie Mann-trained Nathos complete the confirmations.

Martin Pipe has taken out all five of his original entries - Don’t Be Shy, It Takes Time, Korelo, Seebald and Westender.

totesport Long Walk Hurdle, Cashmans bet: 4-9 Inglis Drever. 4-1 No Refuge, 8-1 Crystal d’Ainay, 12-1 Brewster, 14-1 Mistanoora, 16-1 Starzaan, 50-1 Nathos, Hasty Prince.

Meanwhile Smurfit Champion Hurdle hope Lingo is set to make his next appearance in the Stan James Christmas Hurdle at Sandown on St Stephen's Day.

Jonjo O’Neill’s six-year-old shot to prominence for the blue riband when slamming a useful field to win the Greatwood Hurdle last month.

“Lingo is in good form, is very well and he will probably go to Sandown for the Christmas Hurdle,” said owner JP McManus’ racing manager Frank Berry.

Alan King is considering a return to Cheltenham on New Year’s Day for Fork Lightning after the nine-year-old’s pleasing third in the Mears Group Chase at the track last Friday.

The grey had been absent since landing the William Hill National Hunt Handicap Chase at the Festival in 2004, but ran a blinder on his first start for 633 days to finish third to Royal Auclair. “He has come out of the race A1 and had a walk this morning,” said King yesterday.

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