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David Elsworth, trainer of Desert Orchid, believes Long Run can win the King George again

Updated: Saturday, 22 Dec 2012 15:10 | Comments

Four-time King George winner Desert Orchid
Four-time King George winner Desert Orchid

David Elsworth, trainer of the legendary Desert Orchid, believes Long Run is the horse to beat in the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton.

Newmarket-based Elsworth is ideally placed to offer comment, having saddled 'Dessie' to four victories in the St Stephen's jumps highlight.

And he thinks the Nicky Henderson-trained Long Run, victorious in the race two seasons ago and runner-up to Kauto Star last year, can reclaim his crown.

"Long Run keeps getting his nose rubbed in it," Elsworth told the Daily Star.

"When he won the Gold Cup the season before last, I thought he would be hard to topple for some time.

"For some reason, which I do not know why, he got beat in last year's King George and has been beaten a few times since.

"But he ran a hell of race in last year's King George, just beaten over a length.

"Had he not made a mistake at the last, who knows - he might have beaten Kauto Star.

"I'm not one of those who subscribe to knocking the jockeymanship of his rider, Sam Waley-Cohen.

"Kempton seems to suit the horse.

"Maybe there's a new star emerging, but I've not seen one."

David Elsworth

Elsworth (above) feels the Colin Tizzard-trained Cue Card, who will again be ridden by the trainer's son, Joe, could be the biggest threat to Long Run.

He said: "A horse that would make it exciting is Cue Card. He wears his heart on his sleeve.

"Last year there was a difference in opinion between his trainer and his jockey as to what was his best trip.

"Joe did not think he stayed three miles and wanted a drop in distance.

"But he's stronger this year - he would be the danger.

"Then there is, of course, Kauto Stone, Kauto Star's half-brother. He would need to put in an all-time-best performance to win.

"I don't think there's a horse running in this year's race who is capable of dominating it like Desert Orchid or Kauto Star."

Meanwhile, David Bridgwater could turn to Tony McCoy for The Giant Bolster.

Runner-up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the seven-year-old made a satisfactory return to action when third to Silviniaco Conti in the Betfair Chase at Haydock last month.

He was ridden on Merseyside by Tom Scudamore, who has been on board for eight of the gelding's last nine starts.

However, Scudamore would be required to ride Grands Crus for David Pipe should he take his chance.

Bridgwater said: "He's Tom's ride, but if Grands Crus runs he has to ride that, end of story.

"It's all up in the air, but I've been talking to (agent) Dave Roberts over the possibility of AP McCoy being free."

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