|Sunday 20th March 2016|
Robert Waley-Cohen Salutes Long Run
He went on to win a second King George VI Chase at Kempton the following year and was placed in the next two renewals of the Gold Cup, but he had not been seen in competitive action since failing to fire in the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris at Auteuil in May 2014.
After being sent off the 1-2 favourite to see off six rivals in the ApolloBet Bet On Lotteries Open Hunters' Chase, Long Run made much of the running on his first start for 672 days, but weakened quickly in the straight and owner Robert Waley-Cohen immediately called time on his fantastic career.
He said: " I think he's telling us he's had enough, so we'll listen. He won't run again and will now do something he enjoys. Whether that's showing or eventing, we'll have to wait and see."
Waley-Cohen had taken over the training of Long Run since his unsuccessful journey to France - when he suffered various injuries on his way back to Britain - and had hoped to get him qualified for the Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham.
But after running out of time, he instead made the long trip north to Cumbria.
Sam Waley-Cohen sent his mount straight to the lead and while he jumped well for much of the three-mile journey, a couple of significant errors led to him coming under pressure. He was a spent force from the home turn as Ockey De Neulliac and Robbie asserted, with the latter eventually winning a thrilling battle.
"He's been a fantastic servant," Waley-Cohen added.
"He's given everyone so much pleasure and it's remarkable to think it's eight years since he won his first Grade One. He's the only horse to have won a Grade One hurdle at Auteuil as a three-year-old and a Grade One chase at Auteuil as a four-year-old.
"He won the Feltham at Kempton as a four-year-old, he won two King Georges and a Gold Cup.
"We've had the most enormous fun, but while he looked magnificent in the paddock today, he told us on the track he's ready to do something different."
Long Run looked sure to finish third after jumping the final fence, but was eased and stopped to a walk on the run-in, being passed by both Barachois Silver and Durban Gold, meaning he beat just one rival home.
Sam Waley-Cohen was found guilty of failing to take all reasonable and permissible measures to obtain the best possible placing in that he failed to ride out on a horse that could have finished third.
The on-course stewards suspended the amateur rider for seven days on dates to be notified by the British Horseracing Authority.
The jockey said: "He stopped to nothing and was very tired, so I just wanted to nurse him home and keep him in one piece. We'll think about it (appealing).
"It is a difficult balance for the stewards. You have to have the horse's welfare in your mind as well as riding for all your worth. When it's a 50-50 call, I think you lean on the side of the welfare of the horse."
Paying his own tribute, he said: "He's been a phenomenal horse who rose to the biggest occasion every time. He's been a magic horse and in many ways changed our lives with the fabulous days he's given us.
"I might be biased, but I thought his Gold Cup win was one of the great races. Just the way the race panned out with Denman, Kauto Star and Imperial Commander in the race, it was one of those epic battles.
"It was a course record as well, which just puts into context how good a horse he was. He also managed to win a Gold Cup with an amateur on his back, so he deserves even more credit!"
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