Long Run holds off Captain Chris to take victory at King George VI Chase
15:39 GMT, 26 December 2012
15:50 GMT, 26 December 2012
Long Run got up in the final strides to collar Captain Chris and regain his crown in the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton.
Captain Chris looked like going two better places than last year when he came through to head the winner of two years ago, who was also the runner-up 12 months ago.
However, Long Run, the 15-8 favourite trained by Nicky Henderson, rallied for amateur Sam Waley-Cohen, to get back up and score by a neck.
Jumping to victory: Long Run (right) took first place in the King George Chase
The winning rider said: '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.
'This is his fifth year of competing at this level and he means an enormous amount to us.
'That was racing at it's best for me. I can't put it into words. It's an honour and a privilege.'
Long Run is owned by Waley-Cohen's father Robert, who added: 'He's come here four times now and won three Grade Ones and been second to Kauto Star.
'I wasn't absolutely sure that we had got back up but as I came down the stairs from the stand, I saw his name go up and that was fantastic.'
Henderson was similarly thrilled to see his former Cheltenham Gold Cup victor return to winning form.
He said: 'It was a brave call to go on when he did and it was the right call to make.
Jumping to victory: Long Run edged Captain Chris to finish first
'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.
'You would have to say last year was a disappointment but he's been running good races all the time.'
Henderson continued: 'We had it in our minds that Bobs Worth would run in the Cheltenham race in January (Argento Chase), leaving Long Run free to run in the Denman (Aon) Chase at Newbury, but we'll have to discuss things with connections.
'I'd love to see Long Run back on better ground and I'm so pleased Sam and the horse have proved a point to people today.'
Jockey Richard Johnson said of the runner-up: 'I thought coming to the last I was going to win, but the other horse is a proven Gold Cup winner and he's just outstayed me.
'It was a great run and I'm just looking forward to riding him on better ground.'
Scudamore said of third-placed Grands Crus: 'He ran a great race and I'm most pleased he looks a lot more like his old self.'
David Pipe’s exciting grey, meanwhile, blew his rivals away to score by an eased-down nine lengths but that doesn’t come close to accurately describing his superiority over his rivals.
Sent of an 8-13 favourite, Tom Scudamore never had a moment’s worry and a soaring leap four-out sent Dynaste to the front before stretching clear in effortless style.
The six-year-old is now unbeaten in three starts over fences and he is following the same route as stablemate Grands Crus who won this race 12 months ago before being sent off a short price favourite for the RSA Chase.
And Darlan is the new Champion Hurdle favourite after sprinting to a four-and-a-half length victory in the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle at Kempton under Tony McCoy.
The John McManus-owned five-year-old had, who was 3-1 for this seasonal reappearance, made it three Christmas Hurdle wins on the bounce for connections after Binocular’s wins in the last two runnings of the two mile contest, and he is now a 4-1 chance for the Cheltenham Festival showpiece.
Darlan finished behind Cinders And Ashes in last season’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle but Nicky Henderson’s charge comfortably revered that form as well as seeing off disappointing favourite Countrywide Flame who was such an impressive winner of the Fighting Fifth Hurdle last time.
Raya Star came home in second while Dodging Bullets finished third.