Kauto Star deprived Long Run of the chance to continue the tradition of back-to-back winners of the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day 2011, but Nicky Henderson’s eight-year-old could put that right this time around.
The gelding is already secured of a place in Kempton history thanks to his victories under Sam Waley-Cohen in 2010 and last year, when he saw off the determined effort of Captain Chris to win by a neck and become one of the 13 horses to have won this race more than once.
Priced at 8/1 to secure a third win in four attempts this time around, this year’s Gold Cup third Long Run enters the race with history on his side.
Nine horses have managed back-to-back King George triumphs since Pendil became the first to achieve the feat 40 years ago, with Henderson’s charge just a length and a quarter away from making it 10 when Kauto Star held on 2011.
With the Paul Nicholls superstar not around anymore, Long Run’s likely competition will come from three horses that are all priced shorter than him for success.
As the 4/1 favourite, interest in Simonsig is sure to be huge given his 11 wins from 12 outings.
But Henderson’s seven-year-old has never gone over the three miles that will be awaiting him on Boxing Day, and in the face of competition from a King George veteran such as stablemate Long Run he could falter.
Other fancied contenders at Kempton include the 6/1 Dynaste and Silviniaco Conti at 7/1, but both are making their debut in a race which has often shown that having history on your side is a major factor.
At least that’s what Henderson and Waley-Cohen will be hoping.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publication