Headgear could do same for Long Run as See More Business in 1999

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Long Run does not look quite the horse of two years ago, but totally writing off his chances of winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup would be a foolish move.

It is 6/1 that Long Run does win back the title he lost to Synchronised last year and the decision to fit him with cheekpieces at the Festival may well prove an inspired move.

The general rumour is that the final decision will be made in the final days leading up to Cheltenham, but a tweet by regular jockey Sam Waley-Cohen has offered the biggest hint that the cheekpieces will be utilised.

It is the hope that the cheekpieces will help keep Long Run concentrated in the latter stages of the Gold Cup, although this move comes with the risk that he will run too keenly in the early stages and throw away his chance of victory.

Arguments that Long Run has raced lazily since winning the 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup have a degree of truth in them and there is a chance that the cheekpieces will help rekindle some of his old spark.

See More Business was virtually transformed by the use of first-time blinkers when winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1999 and it seems amazing now that he was sent off at 16/1 for that race given what had been previously achieved.

Long Run may not have drifted to such a price, but given that he won the King George this year, if it could be guaranteed that the cheekpieces would bring him back to his best, he would be at least half his current quote.

The other clear factor that would boost his chances of becoming just the second horse after Kauto Star to regain the Cheltenham Gold Cup would be a vast amount of rain in the days leading up to the race.

Bobs Worth heads the Cheltenham Gold Cup betting at 3/1, with Silviniaco Conti and Sir Des Champs both available at 4/1.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.