Long Run Wins King George VI Chase
Long Run claimed his second King George VI Chase in a thrilling finish at Kempton Park on Boxing Day.
The eight-year-old gelding struggled over the last start jump but maintained his composure to hold off Captain Chris by a nose in a thrilling finish.
The victory saw Long Run join an elite group of seven horses, including Desert Orchid and Kauto Star, to have won the King George VI Chase on seven occasions.
Jockey Sam Waley-Cohen praised Long Run for his guts and determination in the closing stages of the race.
“He was so brave. I had to keep asking him – I asked him early and maybe I asked too much as he was tired but so brave,” Waley-Cohen said.
“This is his fifth year of competing at this level and he means an enormous amount to us. That was racing at its best for me. I can’t put it into words. It’s an honour and a privilege.”
Trainer Nicky Henderson was delighted with the victory and said that it almost made up for the disappointment of last year’s race when Long Run finished second behind Kauto Star.
“You would have to say last year was a disappointment but he’s been running good races all the time,” Henderson said.
“It was a brave call to go on when he did and it was the right call to make.
“It was a battle out there today and not the best ground for any of them.
“He’s young but has been doing everything right.”
Connections of Captain Chris were devastated not to have claimed victory after it looked like the son of King’s Theatre was finishing the better of the two horses.
“That’s unbelievable,” jockey Richard Johnson said.
“I look forward to riding him on better ground.”