There was a significant market move for Long Run for the Grand National yesterday as the ground was turning in his favour and the amateur jockey on board on Saturday won a race over the National fences. Warne was an impressive winner of the Fox Hunters Chase owned by Robert Waley-Cohen, the father of the jockey. Long Run could be the favourite by the time of the race.
Warne finished fourth in the Fox Hunters Chase at Aintree last season after getting no luck in running. He led from the start of this year’s race and tried to outrun the strong favourite Mossey Joe. That horse’s jockey seemed confident of overhauling Warne bur Waley-Cohen knew he had something in hand and went further ahead again on the run-in.
Long Run is always ridden by Waley-Cohen and it must be a stipulation of the ownership that the owner’s son gets the ride. Despite being an amateur with business commitments Waley-Cohen takes a professional approach to riding and he never loses a race through lack of fitness.
The jockey and owner combination have a great record over the National fences. They have yet to win the big one but Katarino won two Fox Hunter Chases and another Waley Cohen horse came second in the same race. The amateur jockey actually has more experience of the National fences than most of his professional counterparts.
Warne’s win was the jockey’s fifth over the course and in three from four rides in the National he has made the top five places. Backing all his mounts blind each way over this unique course would be profitable and if Long Run wins the National there would be a boost to the overall winnings from following this strategy.
The jockey was impressed with the jumping ground on Thursday and that also augers well for Long Run’s chances. He will have his favoured ground in the Grand National and the confidence of his trainer. Nick Henderson has never won the National but is expecting a great effort from Long Run having missed Cheltenham in favour of Aintree.
Long Run won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2011 and is looking to become the first horse since L’Escargot to win that race and the National. He has been given a winnable weight by the handicapper who has encouraged the participation of top class animals by allocating less weight than they would carry in conventional chases.
The horse that will start favourite for the National will depend on the bets placed for sentiment by the once a year punters or the wagers from the regular racing fans. The former will want to be with Monbeg Dude and Teaforthree but late money for Long Run can see that horse be the shortest priced by race time on Saturday.
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