The Weekends Racing – by The Sportsman Racing

A £200,000 purse is at stake and with Grade 1 form a requirement Cannington Brook and Weird Al may find themselves floored. Last season was an anti-climax for Long Run having failed to run to the admittedly lofty standard of his Gold Cup win in 2011. Long Run never raced with the same zest or enthusiasm last season but what shouldn’t be forgotten is his 178 rating is more than sufficient to win a race of this nature. The vultures are gathering however as the Seven Barrows torch bearer appeared to have lost a gear last term. The horse has guts but the Haydock track with its sharp bends may not play to the strengths of this lengthy galloper. Doubts also concern any horse making a return to the track following a long absence, especially on what’s likely to be the most testing ground Long Run has yet encountered in Britain. Plenty of plaudits went Silviniaco Conti’s way when he won the Charlie Hall but it wasn’t the strongest renewal. That’s not to crab the horses form however, as he jumped superbly and could only do what was asked of him – trouncing the opposition. Being the highest rated chaser in Paul Nicholls yard since the retirement of Kauto Star there’s no doubt Silviniaco Conti is a rising star himself. The Giant Bolster is the forgotten horse of the race but could be a big danger having beaten off Long Run for second place in the Gold Cup. This horse has often jumped haphazardly, but hopefully that’s in the past now, judged upon his Gold Cup run and Denman Chase tilt. In conclusion, Long Run has plenty of question’s to answer this season but still has time on his side at the age of seven and it shouldn’t be forgotten he is one of only six winners of the Gold Cup this century to be rated above 180 by Timeform. Long Run is keeping exalted company in that list with Best Mate, Kicking King, Kauto Star, Denman and Imperial Commander as companions. Anywhere near a return to that level of imperious form on Saturday would see Long Run win handsomely. The jumps at Perth In Ascot’s Amlin 1965 Chase it’s hard to look beyond Henderson’s Finian’s Rainbow. The key to the 2011 Arkle winner is his ability now to settle which proved tricky in his tearaway novice days. Consistency is the nine-year old’s strong suit having won seven of his nine starts with his only two defeats coming in Grade 1 company where he finished second on both occasions. Finian’s Rainbow registered an awesome performance when beating the mighty Sizing Europe in this year’s Champion Chase and looked even better over an extra half mile when landing the Melling Chase at Aintree in April. 2011 Arkle winner Captain Chris from the Phillip Hobbs yard is in opposition but testing conditions won’t be ideal and I can anticipate Finain’s Rainbow winning the Amlin 1965 en-route to landing a knockout blow in the King George.]]>