One can’t help but feel that David Pipe protests a bit too much when he says Long Run is a ‘certainty’ for the first major handicap of the new jump season, the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday.
He could be telling it as it is, but then again, his tongue maybe in his cheek to deflect attention away from his own horse, Great Endeavour, who gets in with a low weight of 10st 4lbs, a massive 16lbs less that the 7-2 favourite.
Long Run is the main hope of Nicky Henderson for Gold Cup honours later in the year, but rarely is the Paddy Power competitive race won by big weight carriers and Long Run shoulders 11st 6lbs with Poquelin heading the list on 11st 12lbs.
Endeavour won at last March’s Festival and David will be extra keen to follow his father Martin who was a past master in this race, winning it a record eight times.
Odds of 5-1 looks tasty especially each way with 1-4 the odds the first four.