Long Run: price for King George cut after two of his rivals are ruled outPICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
Long Run now just 7-4 for King George
LONG RUN is now as short as 7-4 to regain his William Hill King George VI Chase title at Kempton on Wednesday after two of his challengers were ruled out of the race on Saturday.
Sir Des Champs had been attracting support for the race during the early part of the day only for his trainer to say he will stay in Ireland for the Lexus Chase, while Long Run's stablemate Finian's Rainbow was also ruled out due to unsuitable going.
Willie Mullins, trainer of Sir Des Champs, said the six-year-old will reoppose his John Durkan Chase conqueror Flemenstar at Leopardstown on Friday instead of taking on Long Run, winner of the King George two seasons ago.
"Having talked things over with the Gigginstown House team we've decided that Sir Des Champs will stay at home rather than go to Kempton and the plan is to run him in the Lexus Chase on December 28," he said.
Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Finian's Rainbow had been a 14-1 chance with the sponsors before being ruled out by trainer Nicky Henderson.
An alarming drift on Betfair earlier in the week had led to speculation that the nine-year-old's participation might be in doubt, and Henderson said at Ascot on Saturday that he would not run due to the increasing likelihood of testing ground.
"He's not going to run at Kempton," the trainer said. "We've found out enough about the ground here and we will regroup. It's a blow, as it's been the plan all along. I thought the race was made for him after he won at Aintree, but he categorically showed here last month that he doesn't want this sort of ground."
The going at Kempton was changed to soft, heavy in places on Saturday afternoon after 14mm of rain hit the track during the day.