Long Run fails to fire in Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris
Last Updated: 18/05/14 5:38pm
Long Run: Well beaten in France on Sunday
Long Run was well beaten as Storm Of Saintly got up in the dying strides to claim victory in the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris at Auteuil.
Winner of the 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup as well as claiming successive renewals of the King George VI Chase at Kempton, Long Run was making his first appearance in his homeland since winning a Grade One chase at the Paris track in November 2009.
Despite being ever-present in the saddle aboard the nine-year-old since he joined Nicky Henderson four and a half years ago, Sam Waley-Cohen was unable to ride in the colours of his father, Robert, as the contest was part of the popular 'Quinte' bet and French rules do not allow amateurs to ride in such races.
With Ruby Walsh getting the leg up for the first time, 4-1 joint-favourite Long Run was positioned on the heels of the leaders from the outset and jumped well for much of the three-mile-six-furlong journey.
However, he began to lose his position heading down the back straight and although Walsh did his best to keep his mount in contention, he faded tamely before the home turn and finished tailed off.
Shannon Rock moved sweetly towards the front between the final two fences and claimed the leader Rhialco on the run to the line.
However, he was in front for only a few seconds as Vincent Cheminaud conjured a late rattle from the Guillaume Macaire-trained Storm Of Saintly, the other 4-1 joint-favourite, and got up on the line, meaning Shannon Rock was narrowly denied for the third year running.
There was a second British-trained runner in the field in the shape of Jo Hughes' giant chaser Soll, but he was struggling with a circuit to run and never looked like being involved in the finish.
Henderson said: "He's a bit heat exhausted and dehydrated, but other than that he's fine. It's a very hot day.
"He travelled and jumped great for a long way, but Ruby said he ran like a horse who hadn't taken all the travelling and I think that's the case.
"It's a race we could have probably done with earlier in the season rather than at the end of a long season.
"He'll have a nice, long holiday now."
Cheminaud struck again in the Prix Questarabad aboard Roll On Has, with the Willie Mullins-trained Gitane Du Berlais running with credit in third.
With leading French jockey Jacques Ricou booked for the ride, Gitane Du Berlais looked a major contender following successive victories at Aintree and Fairyhouse and moved ominously towards the front end before the home turn.
However, she was unable to pick up sufficiently in the straight and had to make do with minor honours.
Hot favourite Ambroise had beaten Roll On Has into second on their last two meetings at Auteuil in April, but Jean Paul Gallorini's four-year-old reversed the form in this Grade Three contest.