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Kempton Park

  • 15:00 William Hill King George VI Chase 3m

  • (Grade 1) £180,000 added 5yo+ 9 ran
  • Winner £102,618 2nd £38,502 3rd £19,278 4th £9,612
  • Going: Good to Soft, Soft in places
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 6m 3.00s
  • Off time: 15:00:40

Long Run dethrones Kauto

Henderson starlet wins King George

Last Updated: 15/01/11 4:03pm

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Long Run: King George winner

Long Run: King George winner

Long Run ran out a brilliant 9-2 winner of the King George VI Chase at Kempton with Kauto Star only third.

The six-year-old was given a terrific ride by amateur rider Sam Waley-Cohen and after taking up the running on the turn for home never looked like being beaten.

Kauto Star, sent off the 4-7 favourite, made a bad blunder at the second-last fence but substitute jockey AP McCoy had been niggling along on the four-time winner for a long way and he was well-held at the time.

Riverside Theatre (10-1) ran on well to give trainer Nicky Henderson a famous one-two in the race, with Kauto Star eventually holding on to third place.

He said: "We've always said that around here would be a more favourable course for him than Cheltenham but looking at that, I think there's a good chance we'll be going there in March.

"The main thing is that he stayed the three miles well and my initial reaction would be that he wouldn't want to be going back in trip for the Ryanair.

"I was a bit worried a couple of weeks ago as to whether he was at the same level as Boxing Day but every time I asked my assistant, Tom Symonds, who rides him every day, he seemed very positive.

"We've always known he has a huge amount of talent and I'm so pleased he has shown it today."

Amazing

Waley-Cohen said: "It's absolutely amazing. We ploughed through the first, but we have done a lot of work on the inside school to teach him how to get in a rhythm.

"He really picked up and showed real courage as he was very long at some of them. He's a phenomenal horse and I'm so pleased he's shown people what he is capable of.

"It's a massive honour to be on a horse like this. Kauto Star is a true champion and Tony McCoy is an idol for everyone in the weighing room - to be involved in a race like this is such a privilege.

"I'd like to thank everyone who has helped me."

Henderson added: "Sam has done brilliantly, he has worked very hard and thought about it. He got the horse into the rhythm we needed and gave him a beautiful ride."

Perfect day

With his son having done the steering, owner Robert Waley-Cohen was a proud father afterwards as he said: "What could be better than that? There is no bigger adrenalin rush in the world.

"That's the perfect riposte (to criticism of the jockey). He has justified my faith in him.

"It's absolutely fantastic, what could be better than winning a Grade One race?"

Paul Nicholls offered no excuse for Kauto Star's eclipse and admitted he never felt the horse was going well enough.

He said: "To be honest, I didn't ever think he was going to win during the race and there are no excuses. He just laboured a little bit and he could have jumped better.

"Sometimes when you watch him, you know he's going to win but I never thought that today. I was never really happy at any stage. The mistake cost him second but he has done incredibly well to even come here five times.

"He just looked like he had lost half a yard around here at the age of 11.

"He's come back safe and sound, that's the main thing.

"I'll sit down and have a talk with Clive (Smith, owner) but if he is sound and well there is no reason why he can't run in this year's Gold Cup. Cheltenham will suit him better than Kempton does now, he's just that bit slower.

"Long Run was always going to be a good horse if he put it all together and he did that today."

Smith added: "I didn't quite see it like Paul, there was a moment coming round the home bend when I thought all was well but suddenly he seemed to stop."

Bookies run for cover

Following his win, Long Run is 6/1 from 25s with Sky Bet for the 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup, whilst Kauto Star has been eased out 9/1 from 9/2.

Matt Doyle of Sky Bet said: "Long Run has dethroned Kauto Star on just his fourth start in this country and, if he can show this level of form away from Kempton, could shake up the old guard in the Gold Cup."

Boylesports offer 7/1 from 25s for the winner.

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