It may not have been the best performance of his career, but Long Run’s Cheltenham preparations finished with a good win in the Betfair Denman Chase at Newbury on Friday – making him a strong contender for the showpiece event at 5/2.
The seven-year-old was able to fend off stablemate Burton Port in the closing furlongs and claim his eighth win in 13 starts over the hurdles.
Burton Port was impressive throughout the race though and could easily have won had he been pushed harder earlier or come off the last with more momentum.
The performance of the eight-year-old means he now looks a genuine contender for the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March and could be worth an punt at 8/1.
Speaking to the Racing Post, Burton Port owner, Trevor Hemmings, said: “[The jockey] Barry Geraghty said that´s me booked for the Gold Cup.
“He said the horse took a big blow twice in the race, the last time going to the last! It´s got to be the Gold Cup after that if he is all right. He wasn´t match fit today.”
However, it’s Long Run who all eyes will be on following his win and another win at Cheltenham would see him follow in the footsteps of Denman and Kauto Star who both won at Newbury before striding to victory in the Gold Cup.
Long Run is currently joint favourite for the Cheltenham showpiece at 5/2 along with Kauto Star.
The Paul Nicholls-trained horse is 12-years-old now though and would be the oldest winner of the event since What a Myth back in 1969.
It would take a foolhardy punter to completely rule out Kauto Star but, with Long Run continuing to show good form and those closest to him still confident of improvement, he looks well worth consideration.