/ Racing

Long Run unlikely to go to Punchestown

Updated: Saturday, 19 Mar 2011 16:01

Gold Cup hero Long Run returned to the Henderson yard today
Gold Cup hero Long Run returned to the Henderson yard today

Totesport Gold Cup hero Long run could run in France or at Aintree later this summer but he is unlikely to go to Punchestown in May due to concerns about faster ground.

The six-year-old, who beat Denman by seven lengths in an epic renewal of the blue riband, received a warm welcome at his home in Berkshire on Saturday morning.

The Nicky Henderson-trained gelding was paraded at Seven Barrows stables, in Lambourn, alongside victorious amateur rider, Sam Waley-Cohen, and the jockey's father, Robert Waley-Cohen, who also owns jump racing's new star.

The French-bred may even be seen again this season, with outings to Auteuil in France, Aintree and Punchestown open to discussion.

Henderson said: 'Robert mentioned taking him over to France, although it's not straightforward because there might be complications with Sam riding in France.

'While he's still only six, it's Robert's call. Of the other races, he'd be more likely to go to Aintree because Punchestown is in May and that frightens me a little bit because of the ground.'

Henderson said: 'He looks fantastic. He has lost 15 kilos, but if you're going to gallop around Cheltenham faster than anyone else has, it's not surprising. He's going to have the day off and eat some grass, and he'll do the same tomorrow.'

Waley-Cohen jnr, the first amateur jockey to win the Gold Cup since 1981, added: 'Galloping up that hill is like galloping up the mouth of a lion.

'You don't know you've won it until you've crossed that line. When Nicky Henderson says this was the best horse he's ever trained you take notice.

'We had belief in him and I never really bought into the Cheltenham-not-suiting-him story. We're just so lucky to have him and it will be magnificent if he comes back year after year.'

Long Run belied his tender years in an epic renewal of the great race, in which former champions, Denman and Kauto Star, finished a respective second and third.

In doing so, Long Run was crowned the youngest winner of the Cheltenham showpiece since 1963.

It also marked a red-letter day for Henderson, who was claiming his first Gold Cup.