/ Racing

Long Run aims for history with Waley-Cohens

Updated: Friday, 04 Apr 2014 09:57 | Comments

Long Run is searching for a unique treble
Long Run is searching for a unique treble

Owner Robert Waley-Cohen and his jockey-son, Sam, have enjoyed unprecedented success over the Aintree fences but it could all pale into insignificance if Long Run wins the first £1million renewal of the Crabbie's Grand National.

Katarino twice claimed the Fox Hunters', Liberthine landed the Topham Chase and was fifth in the National, while Oscar Time also came very close when second in the main event.

As recently as Thursday, Warne led from pillar-to-post to give the Waley-Cohens another success in the Fox Hunters'.

Long Run is searching for his own piece of history as no horse as ever won the King George at Kempton, the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the biggest race of them all in Liverpool.

While the Nicky Henderson-trained nine-year-old may not be the force of old, there is no doubt he has been given a chance by the handicapper.

"There are always nerves ahead of the National, ahead of all the big races, and I think if there aren't you are in the wrong sport," said Robert Waley-Cohen.

"Myself and Sam have enjoyed plenty of luck over the fences in the past, but I still get a tingle ahead of the National as it's a great race.

"Clearly he has deteriorated since his days of beating Kauto Star and Denman in the Gold Cup, but he has been handicapped accordingly.

"All you can wish for is a clear run and then take it from there."

Sam Waley-Cohen, who remains an amateur rider, said: "We schooled him over the National-type fences last week and he jumped really well. He's in great form."

Tony McCoy faced a choice between the Ted Walsh-trained Colbert Station, who unseated him at The Chair last year, and Double Seven, winner of the Munster National and trained by Martin Brassil, who saddled Numbersixvalverde to glory in 2006.

The jockey finally went for Double Seven, with Brassil hoping for no more rain.

"Everything seems to have gone well with him and we're happy to be here," said the Kildare handler.

"I just hope they don't get too much rain. The ground is very important to him and if it went heavy there'd be no point in even running him. Hopefully it's no worse than good to soft.

"I'm not sure I'd given his jockey a whole lot of thought, I left all that up to the best judge in the business.

"Tony has ridden him before so it's not as if he is going in blind.

"The form of his Munster National win was done no harm when Spring Heeled won the Kim Muir, so that was nice to see."

Walsh said of Colbert Station: "Last year he didn't run a good race in it.

"He was never really travelling and he jumped a bit erratic, this year hopefully he'll take to it a bit better."

Teaforthree gave connections a huge thrill when third 12 months ago and is another who appears to have been leniently treated.

The 10-year-old ran a perfectly respectable race in the Gold Cup and trainer Rebecca Curtis thinks he heads to Aintree in even better shape than last year.

"He took to the Grand National fences last year," said the Newport handler.

"Teaforthree likes the ground on the softer side of good. Everybody thinks he needs heavy ground, but he doesn't.

"I thought he ran a blinder in the Gold Cup, it was the ideal prep run. We didn't want to go seven weeks after his run at Ascot and I think it put him spot-on.

"He looks really tight without being over-drilled.

"I'd have to say I think he's in better form than last year. He ran a great race at Ascot, it usually takes him two or three runs to hit peak form.

"It's one of those races where you need lots and lots of luck, so we just hope for that."

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