Saturday 25 November 2017

Gold Cup hero Long Run forced to retire

Jockey Sam Waley-Cohen celebrates winning the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup on Long Run
Jockey Sam Waley-Cohen celebrates winning the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup on Long Run

Ashley Iveson

Five years on from his brilliant victory in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Long Run has been retired following a disappointing hunter chase debut at Carlisle.

The 11-year-old beat the great Paul Nicholls-trained pair of Denman and Kauto Star in the blue riband five years ago for Nicky Henderson.

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, 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.

Long Run looked sure to finish third after jumping the final fence, but stopped to a walk on the run-in and was passed by both Barachois Silver and Durban Gold, meaning he beat just one rival home.

"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 is 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."

In a further blow to connections, 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.

Press Association

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