Saturday 10 August 2019

Cheltenham Gold Cup 2011

The 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup, sponsored by Totesport, was a vintage renewal of the “Blue Riband” event, with three previous winners – Kauto Star, Denman and defending champion Imperial Commander – among the 13 runners. However, it was Long Run, winner of the rearranged King George VI Chase at Kempton in January, who started favourite at 7/2.

Owned by Robert Waley-Cohen and trained by Nicky Henderson, Long Run had been less than foot perfect when beaten in the RSA Chase and the Paddy Power Gold Cup on two previous visits to Cheltenham. However, despite again making mistakes, the six-year-old delivered his challenge at the second last and quickly put daylight between himself and his nearest pursuer. Denman finished second, beaten 7 lengths, while Kauto Star faded to finish third, a further 4 lengths adrift.

Kauto Star had taken the lead with a circuit to run, but was headed at the third last by fellow 11-year-old Denman and, turning into the straight, it appeared briefly that the “old guard” had the race between them. That was, of course, until Long Run, who’d been under pressure for a while, appeared on the scene between the last two fences and quickly put the result beyond doubt. The other “big gun”, Imperial Commander, was tailed off when pulled up and dismounted before the last fence and was found to be lame after the race.

Winning jockey Sam Waley-Cohen, who became the first amateur jockey for 30 years to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup, said afterwards, “That's a very special feeling and he's a very special horse. He's a whole lot better than I thought he was.”

Long Run was a first Cheltenham Gold Cup winner for Nicky Henderson and the first six-year-old to win the race since Mill House 48 years earlier. Henderson later reflected on the race, saying, “This horse is still only six, so there is a lot to look forward to with him yet. Kauto Star was probably at his best today, but Long Run is a very good young horse.”

No comments:

Post a Comment