Long Run will start as clear favourite for The 2011 Betfair Chase this Saturday at 3:05 pm. For those of you interested in backing the 2011 Gold Cup winner at odds of 5/6 with most major bookmakers, you may like to know that 8 of the last 15 Gold Cup winners have lost on their seasonal reappearance. It remains to be seen if Long Run will recapture the form that saw him win the 2011 Gold Cup so impressivley as a 6 year old. Those backing the favourite on Saturday will certainly hope so.
Long Run, trained by Nicky Henderson, looks confident to start his seasonal reappearance with a win. The magnificent beast is a best price evens with Sportingbet. The King George and Cheltenham Gold Cup Champion should be too strong for the rest of the field, however he did lose on his reappearance last year.
Other Betfair Chase favourites
The next few horses in the betting are nicely priced. Second favourite, Diamond Harry, is a best price of 6/1 (Ladbrokes) and is reappearing after his last win at Newbury back in competitive handicap company last November.
Kauto Star, arguably the best chaser of the past 40 years, is a 7/1 shot with Victor Chandler and Paddy Power. After last year’s Gold Cup performance, many will prefer to side with youth in this clash of the veteran vs the young pretender. At the ripe old age of 11, can Kauto contain the potentially improving Long Run?
Weird Al joins Kauto Star at 7/1 (Bet365, Victor Chandler, Stan James, William Hill) and after winning last month’s Charlie Hall Chase at Wethereby, he comes into the race in strong form and must be one to consider if Long Run is in need of this race. After a poor 2010/2011 season due a lung operation, the eight-year-old continues to impress and has won five out of his last six chase races.
Due to Nacarat and Rubi Light pulling out; only two remain. Time for Rupert is priced at 8/1 (Bet365, Victor Chandler, Stan James, Ladbrokes and William Hill). The 7 year old finished 3 and a half lengths behind Weird Al in the Charlie Hall last month and the winner gave Time for Rupert 3lb that day, so potentially has the edge at a similar price.
The long shot, Pure Faith, is trained by Peter Bowen and priced at 66/1 (Bet365, Victor Chandler, Paddy Power, Stan James, Ladbrokes and William Hill). He did well in his last showing at Aintree but pure faith is what you may need on Saturday unless vast improvement is found.
I’ll leave you with Timeform’s Dan Barmer’s comments. “Long Run has the Betfair Chase at his mercy… anything close to a repetition of his subsequent King George or Cheltenham Gold Cup performances will almost certainly be good enough.”
The big decision is whether to back or take on the favourite. Surely if Long Run is fit, he will be almost impossible to stop, so we will see if the current Gold Cup champion is raring to go in his first outing of the 2011/2012 campaign. I will be looking to back Long Run at even money with Sportingbet and feel that he will have enough to see off the competition in this interesting renewal.