Long Run Heads Denman Chase Eleven
Long Run could face up to 10 top class rivals as he bids to chalk up his first victory of the season in the Betfair Denman Chase at Newbury on Saturday.
After a well deserved victory in the 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup, Nicky Henderson's star stayer looked to have the world at his feet, but he has had to make do with minor honours behind the resurgent Kauto Star on his two appearances this season.
With Kauto Star now being readied for a crack at the Gold Cup 2012, his trainer Paul Nicholls has three potential challengers for Long Run this weekend in the race now named after his retired Gold Cup winner, Denman.
What A Friend, who was disappointing on his only previous start this season in a hurdle race at Wetherby in October, the mercurial Tidal Bay, who put in an encouraging performance in the Argento Chase at Cheltenham last time out and Aiteen Thirtythree who has failed to live up to expectations on his last two outings.
"What A Friend has been trained for two races this year - the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Punchestown Gold Cup. I expect Daryl (Jacob) to ride him in the Gold Cup," said Nicholls.
"He came back really sick from Wetherby but has run well at Newbury before. Aiteen Thirtythree will definitely run as Paul (Barber, Denman's owner) wants a runner. He has been disappointing and not finishing his races off and will run with a tongue-tie and crossed noseband.
"Tidal Bay ran a really good race in the Argento Chase and was going to go straight for the Gold Cup and then on to Aintree but he came out very fresh and well. We stuck him in the Denman Chase and we'll see what's in it. He might well run."
Henderson could also be represented by Burton Port, not seen in competitive action in well over a year.
Hennessy Gold Cup winner Carruthers, recent Cheltenham scorer The Giant Bolster, Halley, Medermit, Little Josh and Mr Moonshine complete the entries.
Betfair Denman Chase (Grade 2)
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