Long Run: heads straight to the Gold Cup after missing NewburyPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Waley-Cohen: Bobs the one to beat in Gold Cup
BOBS WORTH is the horse to beat in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup according to Long Run's rider Sam Waley-Cohen although he will have to put up his best-ever performance to be successful.
Long Run won his second William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton on December 26 and heads straight for the Cheltenham Festival after missing the Betfair Denman Chase last weekend due to the heavy ground.
Long Run is fourth-favourite for the Gold Cup, a race he won in 2011, behind Bobs Worth, Silviniaco Conti and Sir Des Champs and Waley-Cohen feels the winner will be required to run beyond anything they have previously achieved.
He said: "The form of all the leading contenders is extremely strong. In reality whoever wins it is going to have to run up to a mark not yet achieved.
"Bobs Worth's form looks incredibly impressive and is probably the one to beat."
Long Run and Sam Waley-CohenPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Long Run rallied after the final fence in the King George to snatch the prize from Captain Chris and Waley-Cohen believes the extended break between Kempton and Cheltenham is no bad thing.
"If you look at the horses that ran in the King George that have come out, Champion Court and Grands Crus haven't done great and that might be because it was a tough race," he said.
"As far as Long Run is concerned there is no real worry about him being race ready. [Trainer] Nicky Henderson can get them ready first time - he did with Bobs Worth in the Hennessy."
Long Run could run in cheekpieces for the first time at Cheltenham although no decision has yet been made.
Speaking on At The Races, Waley-Cohen added: "It presents two challenges. He is always pretty keen in the first mile of a race and cheekpieces are not going to help that but he seems to need them in the last mile. We need to see if they'll be a help or a hindrance."