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Tom Symonds Still Bullish on Long Run Chances


Despite running a relatively unimpressive race for his victory at Newbury last week, defending Cheltenham Gold Cup champion Long Run is still expected to run a blinder come festival time in a few weeks.


Nicky Henderson's former assistant Tom Symonds spoke to the media today and declared that Long Run was not pushed during that last race and remained “in second gear” for the entirety of the contest. The best is still to come from the Waley-Cohen owned seven-year-old.

He managed to win by a slim half-length over stablemate Burton Port when sent out of the gates at a 4/7 margin. He had been winless this season after coming up short against an impressive Kauto Star by a combined lengths in his previous two contests.

Long Run's lack of earplugs in recent races is an indication of maturity according to Symonds and that the horse continues to mature as he builds up his confidence tangling at the upper echelons of the steeplechasing game.

Symonds also went out of his way to heap praise on Sprinter Sacre – who is now priced down to even money for his run at Cheltenham this year. “His ability to jump boldly and cleverly is something that you simply cannot teach a horse - they either have or they don't. This is a horse who has it all” declared Symonds on his Horse & Hound blog.

Long Run is a general 9/4 favourite to win the 2012 Cheltenham Gold Cup while Kauto Star has been clipped significantly since the market opened last year. After stringing together an impressive pair of victories, Kauto Star is now priced around 10/3 with many bookmakers spotting him a price as high as 7/2.

Burton Port is in the mix for the Gold Cup along with Grands Crus – both contenders trade anywhere from 7/1 to 10/1.  

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