Long Run (noseband): a two-time winner of the King George at KemptonPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Long Run scoped dirty after Wetherby shocker
LONG RUN scoped badly after finishing only fifth at Wetherby on Saturday and could miss the Betfair Chase with the King George his next possible outing.
The King George VI Chase and Gold Cup winner was finishing out of the first three for the first time since he arrived in Britain when beaten more than 40 lengths by Harry Topper when a 4-5 chance for the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase, so Henderson was relieved when an explanation for a performance that was totally out of character emerged so soon after the race.
He said: "I must have had ten calls this morning from people telling me they've heard something is up with Long Run, but he's fine and I want to get that into everyone's head. That was far too bad to be true. He'd never run a race like it in his life and with no other explanation you had to assume it was clinical."
He added: "We did take a scope off him after the race and it was a mess. There was a fair amount of gunge and blood and so on, and the vet scored it at three out of five, which is significant. It was quite surprising, as our own on Monday had been a hundred per cent, but five days can be a long time in a horse's life.
"He's bumped into something, but I think the horses as a whole are healthy, thank goodness. We'll do it again tomorrow and get it to the laboratory, and then we'll have a picture, but in himself he's absolutely fine. He's sound and he's perfectly okay."
Looking ahead Henderson is not ruling out Long Run making a third successive appearance in Haydock's Betfair Chase, in which he has been second for the last two years when making his reappearance, but he is open minded.
He said: "We'll have to see what comes to light, but if he had to miss the Betfair Chase and wait for the King George then so be it. I'm pretty confident though that there's no long-term lasting damage done, either physically or in any other way."
Henderson, who suffered a rare blank on Saturday, is looking forward to giving last season's smart novice chase Hadrian's Approach a Hennessy 'prep' in the 2m4f graduation chase at Kempton on Monday.
The six-year-old is vying for favourtism for the big Newbury handicap with Alan King's Invictus, who is in the same ownership, with King's runner trading at a best-priced 10-1, while Hadrian's Approach is a general 12-1.
Henderson said: "I'd quite like to get a race into him before the Hennessy and this seemed a perfectly good place to start, although he does stay well. He's in good form."