The Charlie Hall Chase was already building up to be an early highlight of the National Hunt season with the expected appearance of 2013 Grand National winner Aurora’s Encore.
However, the Wetherby dial would certainly be turned up another notch if this Group 2 contest also represented the seasonal reappearance of Long Run as the first step towards becoming a dual winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Long Run is 16/1 to win the 2014 Cheltenham Gold Cup and this certainly looks a massive initial each-way price for a horse that has finished in the first three in each of the last three years and will arguably be in his prime as a nine-year-old in the next renewal.
But should he win the Charlie Hall Chase, historically this will be a major blow to his chances of finishing among the places at Cheltenham.
The last horse to complete the double of winning both races was See More Business in 1999, with five horses attempting to win both races in the last decade and failing.
Grey Abbey in the 2005 Gold Cup was the only one of these to finish in the top five, although it is fair to assume that Silviniaco Conti would have bettered this result had he not fallen three fences from home when travelling well in the latest renewal.
The alternate option for Long Run would be to hold back a little longer and begin his season in the Betfair Chase instead, a race he was second in to Silviniaco Conti last year.
Four of the last 10 Cheltenham Gold Cup winners had run in the Betfair Chase earlier in the same season, although the last four to attempt this win double have failed to finish at Cheltenham.
This could also be bad news for defending Cheltenham Gold Cup champion Bobs Worth, who is 3/1 to win for the second year in succession, as the Haydock contest is widely anticipated to be the scene of his seasonal reappearance.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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