He might not be quite as good as a couple of years ago when running away with the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but the Nicky Henderson-trained Long Run is still a very smart performer and his potential presence in the 2014 Crabbies Grand National at Aintree in April would add plenty of kudos to ‘the world’s greatest steeplechase’.
Owner Robert Waley-Cohen and his jockey son Sam have gone agonisingly close in the Grand National in the past, finishing second and fourth with Oscar Time in recent years. With Long Run struggling of late to make an impression in Grade 1 company with heavy defeats in both Wetherby’s Charlie Hall Chase and the Betfair Chase last month, the chance of the ex-French eight-year-old being given the green light to compete at Aintree appears to be increasing.
Long Run has taken the odd liberty in clouting fences during his career but has never fallen, a factor that will surely encourage Nicky Henderson and the connections of the 14-time winner who will be bid to land a third King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day, a contest for which he is currently on offer at odds of 16/1 in the ante-post market for the Christmas racing highlight.
Last term Long Run produced a typically gutsy display in the ‘King George’, looking beaten at the final fence as Captain Chris set sail for home before suddenly finding a second wind and staying on in the gamest possible fashion to get up in the dying strides to win by a neck in a race to remember. Currently a 25/1 co-second-favourite in the ante-post list for the Grand National behind stable companion and recent Hennessy Gold Cup winner Triolo D’Alene, Long Run could shorten up dramatically with a big run at his beloved Kempton.