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Champ has the class to repeat 2021 triumph at Ascot


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Eleven-year-old returns from a break looking to rediscover form and eclipse two-time Long Walk Hurdle winner Paisley Park

The first Grade One hurdle of the British season was won by an 11-year-old and the second could be heading the same way with Champ and Paisley Park, between them the winners of the Long Walk Hurdle for the past three years, both in the field for the latest renewal at Ascot on Saturday.

Champ was a disappointing favourite behind a resurgent Paisley Park when this race was switched to Kempton’s Boxing Day card in 2022, but he won with something to spare two years ago and his success in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury in November 2022 showed that he is still capable of high-class form. Nicky Henderson’s gelding also has an excellent record on his first run back after a break, and has had a wind operation since has last outing at Aintree in April. If that helps Champ (2.25) to rediscover something close to his best form, he could be more than a match for Saturday’s field.

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