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RACING: Run in long trek to Kelso
8:00am Tuesday 11th February 2014 in Sport
Long Run is to travel north of the border for the Ivan Straker Memorial Chase on Thursday as connections head to Kelso in search of better ground.
The Kempton Park Chase, formerly known as the Racing Plus Chase, on February 22 had been earmarked as a target for the 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero, who was last seen when unseating Sam Waley-Cohen in the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day.
However, the promise of better ground, combined with a less competitive race, has proved an irresistible lure for owner Robert Waley-Cohen, who lives at Edgehill, near Banbury, and Lambourn trainer Nicky Henderson.
Waley-Cohen snr said: “It’s a Class 2 race, not a Class 1, and it’s just a case of going where the ground is best.
“Kelso is good to soft and Kempton raced last Friday on heavy ground.
“It will be nice for him to have a race that’s not one of the toughest of the season.
“The horse is fine. We just don’t really want to go on very heavy ground.
“The forecast is for torrential rain again later this week, so it makes sense to take the opportunity.”
Long Run has not tasted victory since landing the 2012 King George and his three runs this seasons have all yielded unplaced finishes – the first occasions in the gelding’s career when he has not made the frame.
Should he bounce back to winning form, Long Run is entered once again for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup as well as the Crabbie’s Grand National.
“We’ll see how it goes, but Aintree is definitely an option,” said Waley-Cohen.
Henderson could also run leading Stan James Champion Hurdle fancy My Tent Or Yours at Kelso with the seven-year-old holding an entry in the Timeform Morebattle Hurdle.