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The star of the show on Windsor's card is French ace Baracouda. Dual winner of the Stayers' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, the Teletronics Systems Long Walk Hurdle ought to be a cakewalk. The bookies are taking no chances, pricing him at 1/3. It is a measure of Baracouda's domination of staying hurdles that the horse that finally lowered his colours at the festival, Iris's Gift, is priced as low as 16/1 for the chasers' blue riband, the Gold Cup, having not yet jumped a fence in anger. Crystal D'Ainay and Kadara were well held by Baracouda at Newbury last time and it is hard to see that form reversed.
However, it may be worth a little each-way on Rule Supreme. Willie Mullins's charge reverts to hurdles having won the Royal & SunAlliance Chase last term. It just might be, Mullins thinks, the staying hurdlers are worth taking on this season and Rule Supreme, despite taking one of the biggest prizes in novice chasing, has always looked more natural over the smaller obstacle.
The firstname.lastname@example.org Handicap Chase is likely to attract more punters and is also a class race, won in the past by horses of the calibre of Gold Cup hero Cool Dawn and the tough Young Hustler. This is a wide-open renewal. By far the best hurdles form belongs to Le Duc.He was good enough as a novice timber-topper to beat Triumph Hurdle winner Spectroscope and Well Chief at Aintree in 2003. Unlike Well Chief who has since won the Arkle, Le Duc has not been a star over fences. However, this step up in trip could offer redemption.
Selections 1:55 Windsor: Le Duc (each-way)
2:25 Windsor: Rule Supreme (each-way)