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Long Run (Sam Waley-Cohen

Long Run: King George winner is as short as 5-1 for Gold Cup

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

Run cut for Gold Cup after King George success

LONG RUN'S dramatic King George success was the highlight of a busy day in the ante-post markets for the Cheltenham Festival, with the 2011 Gold Cup winner as short as 5-1 to regain his crown next March.

Nicky Henderson's chaser is shortest with Coral, but is generally a 6-1 chance (from 8) for the Gold Cup, with gallant runner-up Captain Chris now 20-1 (from 33).

Trained by Philip Hobbs, Captain Chris is now 7-1 with William Hill for the Ryanair (from 12), and the King George could become a key piece of form with Grands Crus [third], Champion Court [fourth] and Cue Card [fifth] all possibles for the race.

Cue Card was left unchanged by most firms at 6-1, while Grands Crus is a general 7-1 chance and Champion Court is now as low as 8-1 (from 16).

It was a dominant afternoon at Kempton for Henderson, as Long Run completed a four-timer, and is as short as 1-6 (from 1-3) for the trainers' title with William Hill, who pushed out Paul Nicholls to 7-2 (from 9-4).

As well two leading Gold Cup contenders - Hennessy winner Bobs Worth is favourite for the race - Henderson has the Champion Hurdle ante-post favourite in his Seven Barrows yard following Darlan's win in the Christmas Hurdle.

Darlan is 3-1 with Ladbrokes and bet365, but generally 4-1, having been as big as 10-1 before the race.

At Leopardstown, Arvika Ligeonniere remained unbeaten over fences with victory in the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase. The seven-year-old was trimmed by some firms to 6-1 (from 7) for the Racing Post Arkle at Cheltenham, with favourite Simonsig in action at Kempton on Thursday.

There were also markers put down at Kempton and Leopardstown for the William Hill Supreme Novices' Hurdle with River Maigue and Ned Buntline cut for the Cheltenham opener.

River Maigue scored in the  opening 2m novice hurdle at Kempton for Henderson, and is now 8-1 joint-favourite with Puffin Billy for Ladbrokes, but can be backed at 14-1. Ned Buntline was also trimmed for the Supreme Novices', with Noel Meade's Leopardstown winner a best-priced 25-1 chance for the race.

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