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Long Run Made to Work for Win

Long Run was made to work hard in his final preparation run before his defence of his Cheltenham Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival next month but survived a mini scare to win by under a length.

Long Run
© Racehorse Photos

Long Run

The Denman Chase was scheduled to take place last Saturday at Newbury but the cold freeze forced the meeting to go ahead six days later on a bonus Friday card from the Berkshire track. People who bet on horse racing will have been paying close attention.

Nicky Henderson’s favourite for the blue riband event at the Festival had to give 10lbs away to most of the field, including stablemate Burton Port who almost got to Long Run in the closing stages after an impressive performance in his first run since finishing second to Diamond Harry in the Hennessy Gold Cup at the same track in November 2010.

Surprisingly, the narrow victory was Long Run’s first success of the season, even though he remains favourite in the Betfair Cheltenham gold cup betting. He started his campaign in the Betfair Chase at Haydock where he ran rusty, finishing second to Kauto Star at the Lancashire track. However, it was the same 1-2 a month later in the King George at Kempton where there were no excuses for the Robert Waley-Cohen-owned horse in the race he had won 12 months earlier.

After a solid return to the track, Burton Port is likely to join Long Run at Cheltenham, as is What A Friend who looked to be in with a chance three from home at Newbury. The Paul Nicholls-trained runner just faded in the closing stages after stamina came into the question in the 3m contest. Another shot at the Grand National at Aintree looks unlikely later in the campaign this time around.


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