Nicky Henderson showed off his principal Cheltenham runners to the press pack yesterday and nominated Long Run as his "best ever chance" in the Gold Cup -- one of the few races at the Festival he has yet to tick off.
Robert Waley-Cohen's six-year-old fulfilled one of his trainer's burning ambitions by providing him with a first King George VI Chase at Kempton last month. And Henderson has no doubt that Long Run is good enough to improve on his record at Cheltenham, where he finished third on his only two previous visits -- in the RSA Chase and last November's Paddy Power Gold Cup.
"Marlborough (fourth in 2002) was knocking on the door and probably the closest we've been," he said. "I'm not worried that Long Run's two defeats for us have both been at Cheltenham. He'd had a long season before he'd got to us last year and was over the top before the RSA, while the distance of the Paddy Power was too short.
"The great thing about Kempton was that he got into a rhythm. Yes he's young enough for the Gold Cup, but I wouldn't want to bring him back in trip for the Ryanair," he added.
Henderson believes Peddlers Cross and Hurricane Fly are the dangers to Binocular retaining his Champion Hurdle title and giving him a sixth win in the race.
"In hindsight, we might not have run at Sandown last time -- all it did was put doubts in our minds, but I'm very happy with him," Henderson said.
Henderson's Kid Cassidy, one of the two horses to survive being electrocuted at Newbury a fortnight ago, returns to the racecourse at Sandown today.
The five-year-old lost his hind-end and sat down when he stepped off the rubber walkway on to the grass in the paddock that day, but stepped back on the rubber, which probably saved him. Then he bolted to the start with AP McCoy before being withdrawn.
Kid Cassidy has appeared none the worse for the experience -- either at home or when taken to Ascot last weekend for a relaxed walk round the paddock. Yesterday, he was treated by Dr Jerome Poupel, the French chiropractor who worked with Long Run before the King George. (© Daily Telegraph, London)