King has high hopes for Smad Place

22 December 2012 06:26:41 EST

Alan King sends his Smad Place for the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot and assuming he can return to his best he will go off among the favourites.

But despite running third behind the mighty Big Buck's in the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival he's no certainty.

For in his first appearance of the season at Wetherby, his jumping let him down badly and he finished a well beaten third behind Tidal Bay.

So despite being strongly fancied by his yard who have been talking him up all week this one needs to step his game up.

Paul Nicholls is always to be feared and he relies on Prospect Wells who can't be ruled out given his connections, but has his stamina to prove at this trip.

Cucumber Run, meanwhile, has an enviable record over the hurdles and run one of the best races of his career when second to Fair Along last time.

Nicky Henderson's horse probably needs to improve on that a little but looks a real each way proposition.

Smad Place is 15/8 to win the 2.00 at Ascot, with Prospect Wells 8/1 and Cucumber Run 12/1.

Hold on Julio looks a likely winner of the Champagne Bollinger Silver Cup Handicap Chase (2.35), whilst Balder Succes looks set for the winner's enclosure at the end of the 3.10.

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