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Aintree possible Long Run a sick horse after Wetherby flop

November 11, 2013 05:02:15 PM
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It seems more than likely that no-one was more relieved than Nicky Henderson to find out that his former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner and Grand National hopeful Long Run was a sick horse after disappointing so badly at Wetherby on his recent seasonal reappearance.

Although he had failed to win on his first outing of the term for the previous two seasons the ex-French gelding was meeting slightly lesser opposition in the Grade 2 bet365 Charlie Hall Chase, and was duly sent off a hot favourite. After travelling well enough in the hands of regular rider Sam Waley-Cohen, the eight-year-old blundered in the back straight on the second circuit and from then on was always fighting a losing battle. He eventually faded tamely from the home turn coming home a bitterly disappointing 41-length fifth behind the brave winner Harry Topper.

The first reaction was to wonder whether all the hard races the dual King George VI Chase winner has run in recent seasons have taken their toll on him, but while there is no doubt that Long Run is not as good as he was a couple of seasons ago, the news that he scoped dirty after the race will come to a relief to his many fans as such an occurrence would easily explain his poor effort.

The Henderson-trained star might not be up to winning a Gold Cup any more, but he would be a tremendously exciting prospect in the Grand National odds at Aintree, even if he does have a tendency to clout the odd obstacle on his way round. The son of Cadoudal has never fallen, stays well, and oozes class, so there will be plenty hoping he does bid for the Crabbies Grand National at Aintree in April, a race for which he can still be backed at ante-post odds of up to 33/1.

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