Long Run won at epic Gold Cup from former champions Denman and Kauto Star at Cheltenham on Friday afternoon.
Rider Sam Waley-Cohen became the first amateur rider to win the race in over thirty years, while the 6-y-o also broke the course record. It was also trainer Nicky Henderson’s first win in the race.
“I will have to go back to work on Monday, as we have patients and livelihoods to look after,” Waley Cohen said. “This isn’t the day job and I doubt it will sink in until then.
“I’ve spent so many countless hours thinking about this, and I’ll be thinking, ‘I’ve achieved it, what do I do now?’ The boys at the top have fought tooth and nail to get there, and others are just trying to make ends meet and it’s an honour to ride amongst them. Not many amateurs have been lucky enough to have a go in this race but the support from everyone has been incredible and I could almost feel them willing me on. It’s rough out there. It’s a war, a brotherly war, but there’s no quarter given.”
Looking back on the race, he said: “We got racing so early and I was having to ask him for huge strides all the time at his fences and I didn’t know if we’d be going through them. Over some of those fences you have so much air time that you just hope they get the landing gear out. He’s phenomenal.”
Nicky Henderson added:
“The Champion Hurdle has been good to us but the Gold Cup and the National are the two races we were missing. It’s nice to get one in the bag,” he said. It was a great race because all the horses have run great races, there’s no disputing it. Kauto Star was probably at his best today, but Long Run is a very good young horse. There was just a moment when I thought he needed a bit of daylight going down the hill, but Sam was very confident and he was very professional. It was a proper race, all the big boys were there, and it’s sort of nice it’s over, to be honest.”