Age is not factor in Long Run for Gold

DEPENDING on where you shop, the top three in the betting for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup in March have yet to reappear this season.

Sir Des Champs is the definite favourite no matter where you look, Long Run and Bobs Worth then dispute and Flemenstar, best priced 9/1, heads the 'have run this season' brigade.

The betting for the Gold Cup can be expected to fluctuate more than any of the other Championship races at the Cheltenham Festival over the coming weeks and you can expect some sort of a stir after tomorrow's Betfair Chase at Haydock.

Despite the fact that next March will celebrate two years since Long Run memorably triumphed in the Gold Cup, it should not be forgotten that Nicky Henderson's charge will only be eight years of age despite the fact that he seems to be around for much longer.


Since Best Mate won his first Gold Cup as a seven-year-old in 2002, three more seven-year-olds have won the race (Kicking King, War of Attrition, Kauto Star). And since Best Mate won his third as a nine-year-old, three at that age have won the Gold Cup (Kauto Star, Imperial Commander, Synchronised), with Denman the only other eight-year-old to oblige since Best Mate, and Long Run the only six-year-old since Mill House, all the way back in 1963.

So, unlike most horses who have aspiring challengers leaping out of the novice ranks, Long Run hasn't got the ageing legs that might catch him out against his younger rivals.

His stable companion Bobs Worth, along with Flemenstar, will both also be just eight next year, while Sir Des Champs and Silviniaco Conti will both be seven.

Long Run went into last year's Betfair Chase as the warm favourite, as he also appears to be for tomorrow's renewal, but last year he had to bow to the incredible class of a reignited Kauto Star.

Tomorrow, there will be no Kauto Star, but Messrs Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh will be on hand with Silviniaco Conti in a bid to again topple the former Gold Cup hero.
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