Connections will be relieved that LONG RUN has no Kauto Star to contend with here having twice come off second-best against Paul Nicholls' stable star in his two runs this term. The reigning champion chaser has to concede weight to all of his rivals in this but should be up to the task, though Nicholls will be looking for a big run from both Tidal Bay and What A Friend who are both Grade 1 winners. Burton Port, the top weight's stablemate, could also have the Gold Cup on his agenda if putting in a decent performance following a lengthy lay-off while recent Newbury winner The Giant Bolster is certainly no slouch, though has done all of his winning over shorter trips.
Long Run (FR) Evensfav (11-10) Tracked leaders, went 2nd 5 out, driven next, ridden 2 out, stayed on under pressure flat, unable to reach winner, 2nd of 7, 1 1/4l behind Kauto Star (11-10) at Kempton 3m Grade 1 chs (4yo+) (1) gs in Dec.
The Giant Bolster 7-2 (10-3) Made all, drew clear after 3 out, stayed on well, comfortably, won at Cheltenham 2m 5f hcp chs G3 (1) gs in Jan beating Poquelin (11-5) by 17l, 10 ran.
Burton Port (IRE) 15-2 (10-1) Held up in mid-division, steady headway 16th, disputing 4th when blundered 17th, chased leading pair 3 out, stayed on to chase winner from soon after 2 out, driven and stayed on flat, always held, 2nd of 18, 1 1/4l behind Diamond Harry (10-0) at Newbury 3m 2f hcp chs Grd 3 (1) gs in Nov '10.
Chapel House 100-1 (11-0) Last when mistake and unseated rider 1st, in a race won by Ballyallia Man (11-0) at Southwell 2m 4f beg chase (4) gs, 9 ran.
Tidal Bay (IRE) 9-2 (11-0) Held up behind, not fluent 16th, headway before 4 out, went 2nd before 2 out, ridden last, stayed on under pressure flat, always held, 2nd of 9, 2 3/4l behind Midnight Chase (11-6) at Cheltenham 3m 1f chs Grd 2 (1) gs in Jan.
What A Friend 4-1 (11-0) Held up towards rear, headway 4 out, went 4th from 3 out, no impression, 3rd of 8, 35l behind Restless Harry (11-0) at Wetherby 3m 1f hdl G2 (1) gd in Oct.