With the Cheltenham Gold Cup under three months away, Nicky Henderson needs to find a quick solution to help Long Run get back into the winning habit and in particular find a way past a rejuvenated Kauto Star.
Long Run had found Kauto Star too good on both of his starts this season and Henderson will not want to take bridesmaid honours for the third time in the biggest showdown of the year.
There are a number of options at Henderson’s disposal, with perhaps the most popular among punters being that amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen is replaced by Barry Geraghty.
Geraghty is the stable jockey for the Henderson team, taking the mounts on the majority of his leading contenders, including Champion Hurdle hope Grandouet, Arkle favourite Sprinter Sacre and Ladbrokes World Hurdle fancy Oscar Whisky.
However, as Long Run is owned by Robert Waley-Cohen, it has been decided to keep it in the family and allow Sam to take the ride, despite lacking the experience and ability of Geraghty.
With a change of jockey unimaginable, Henderson is hoping that a removal of Long Run’s famed blue earplugs will be enough to secure victory.
Long Run has worn the earplugs since the King George last season to help keep noise to a minimum given Kauto Star’s fanbase, but Henderson believes that he may now be heading into his races too relaxed.
Furthermore, there is the hope that the added distance in the Cheltenham Gold Cup will play into Long Run’s hands as he has been staying on best in the closing stages in both the Betfair Chase and King George.
Despite his two defeats, Long Run remains the 9/4 favourite in the Cheltenham Gold Cup odds, with Kauto Star available at 7/2.