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Kelso

  • 15:55 Ivan Straker Memorial Chase3m 2f

  • £20,000 added 5yo+ 4 ran
  • Winner £12,512 2nd £3,696 3rd £1,848 4th £924
  • Going: Good to Soft, Soft in places
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 7m 12.60s
  • Off time: 15:56:45

Long Run and Knockara Beau set for Kelso clash

Last Updated: 12/02/14 12:21pm

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Long Run: On track for Kelso

Long Run: On track for Kelso

Long Run and Knockara Beau headline a field of just four runners for Thursday's Ivan Straker Memorial Chase at Kelso.

Long Run, winner of the 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup, appears to have lost a little of his old dash recently and he last tasted victory in the 2012 King George VI Chase, his second success in the Christmas highlight.

As he failed to win in the last calendar year, he escapes a penalty and has some 17lb in hand of Kelso specialist Knockara Beau.

Whether Nicky Henderson's nine-year-old runs in the Gold Cup next month is up the air as he has the Grand National as his major aim this season, with owner Robert Waley-Cohen and his jockey son Sam keen on Aintree.

Henderson said: "We'll run him at Kelso and then we'll see about Cheltenham. Robert, Sam and myself are keen to have a go (at the National) and I think we've got to accept that his Gold Cup days are over, in which case we move on to the National."

Sam Waley-Cohen said: "Hopefully it will be a good race and the ground will not be too soft. It should be a good day.

"Long Run seems very well, so we go there looking to have a good run round and hopefully see him bounce back to somewhere near the form he showed at the end of last season.

"I think 11st 9lb is a competitive weight for him in the Grand National. If he can show the form he had last season then he's got a decent chance, but he clearly needs to show he's running at that level."

The 11-year-old Knockara Beau reverts to fences having pulled off a huge 66-1 shock when beating star stayer Big Buck's in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Five of his 11 career wins have come at the track and his Northumberland-based trainer George Charlton is unfazed by his illustrious challenger.

"Thankfully the weather hasn't held us up. We had half an inch of snow on Tuesday night, but it was nothing much," said Charlton. "Long Run certainly makes it interesting and we're hoping the miracle can happen twice.

"You can get funny results in small field races like this and they've all got 10st 12lb which is nice as he just loves that low weight, he used to carry top weight normally.

"Its a big task ahead, but you never know what might happen. He loves Kelso so that is in his favour. Hopefully the weather stays fine as there's frost and snow about."

Completing the field are Nick Alexander's Isla Pearl Fisher and Jane Walton's Heez A Steel but both have plenty to find on the book.

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