Long Run regains King George VI steeplechase crown
Joins Kauto Star and Desert Orchid in achieving the rare feat
Seven-year old ridden by amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen
Captain Chris finishes second after being pipped in run-in at Kempton
Long Run edged outsider Captain Chris to reclaim the prestigious King George VI Chase crown at Kempton Park on Boxing Day.
The seven-year-old gelding, ridden by Sam Waley-Cohen, made a bad mistake five from home and trailed going over the final fence of the three-mile steeplechase before conjuring up a driving finish.
Long Run got up with two strides remaining to pip 16-1 shot Captain Chris, who had been given every chance by jockey Richard Johnson.
7-1 French shot Grand Crus finished a distant third on the grueling heavy ground.
The Nicky Henderson-trained winner was beaten by the now retired Kauto Star in last year’s edition of the festive classic.
Kauto Star was paraded before the large crowds at the racecourse in south-west London ahead of the feature race of the day.
His half-brother, Kauto Stone, looked to keep the King George title in the family, but finished out of the placings, clearly struggling in the slow going under jockey Ruby Walsh.
Long Run, who achieved the King George VI and Cheltenham Gold Cup double in the 2010-11 season will be looking to achieve the feat again after his courageous victory.
He is 7-1 with leading bookmakers to win at Cheltenham next March.
“He was so brave, we wanted to take the sting out of everything else and I asked so much, but he was so brave,” jockey Waley-Cohen told Channel 4 .
“That was racing at its best to my mind, that’s why we do it. I can’t put it into words - it’s an honor and a pleasure.”
Long Run joined greats such as Kauto Star and gray hero Desert Orchid in regaining the King George title after relinquishing it the year before.