David Elsworth, trainer of the legendary Desert Orchid, believes Long Run is the horse to beat in the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton.
Newmarket-based Elsworth is ideally placed to offer comment, having saddled 'Dessie' to four victories in the Boxing Day jumps highlight, and he thinks the Nicky Henderson-trained Long Run, victorious in the race two seasons ago and runner-up to Kauto Star last year, can reclaim his crown.
"Long Run keeps getting his nose rubbed in it. When he won the Gold Cup the season before last, I thought he would be hard to topple for some time. For some reason, which I do not know why, he got beat in last year's King George and has been beaten a few times since," Elsworth told the Daily Star.
"But he ran a hell of race in last year's King George, just beaten over a length. Had he not made a mistake at the last, who knows - he might have beaten Kauto Star.
"I'm not one of those who subscribe to knocking the jockeymanship of his rider, Sam Waley-Cohen.
"Kempton seems to suit the horse. Maybe there's a new star emerging, but I've not seen one."
Elsworth feels the Colin Tizzard-trained Cue Card, who will again be ridden by the trainer's son, Joe, could be the biggest threat to Long Run.
He said: "A horse that would make it exciting is Cue Card. He wears his heart on his sleeve. Last year there was a difference in opinion between his trainer and his jockey as to what was his best trip.
"Joe did not think he stayed three miles and wanted a drop in distance. But he's stronger this year - he would be the danger.
"Then there is, of course, Kauto Stone, Kauto Star's half-brother. He would need to put in an all-time-best performance to win. I don't think there's a horse running in this year's race who is capable of dominating it like Desert Orchid or Kauto Star."
23 July 2014Midgley delivers Silva service
Trainer caught up in morphine case
Lyons takes aim at Tyros double
Sunset shines for Her Majesty
Feed company launches investigation
Raydara facing Flash test
Prize boost for Newmarket heats
Toast team offer American excuse
Field pitch perfect for Ascot raid
Galway on Panama agenda
Panther sidesteps George date
Toast team offer American excuse
Gosden team among Leger entries
Hughes' duo primed for Plate
Cooper hearing concludes
Goodwood target for Tropics
Edison set for Galway glory bid
Ferguson plotting Galway raid
Queen's Estimate tests positive
Moonlight shines at Musselburgh
Taghrooda could go off favourite
Signal pointed at Phoenix
Course specialist in Ascot return
Bary plots Arc route for Spiritjim
Charlton weighs up Kazeem options
Varian seeking York glory
High hopes for Odeliz
22 July 2014Strangeway targets Galway riches
Grade One status for Mares' event
Halford retains Certerach faith
HRI unveil 2015 plans
Buick on Ascot weather watch
Minella to take Plate test
Scudamore banned for course blunder
Toscanini team mull options
Faydhan team in no rush
Fast Kaar given Dewhurst target
Pique Sous confirmed for Galway
Hannon team cool on Nunthorpe bid
Channon excited by Amralah progress
Haggas expects Hanagan to ride Tag
21 July 2014Ebor the Clever choice for Cookie
Deauville mission for Fiesolana
Chicquita in Yorkshire Oaks frame
Magical Moore shines again
Kool result for Hannon
Guest considers Memory options
Euro stays with Botti
Ascot on Moohaarib agenda
Injury blow for Boistron team
Encke set for Glorious return
No hurry for Tiggy target
No rush for East aim
20 July 2014Sous heads Galway Hurdle betting
McCoy savours overtaking Pipe
Bracelet glitters in Irish Oaks
Whittington pounces in Anglesey
Music masters Hackwood rivals
Dazzling Tiggy in Nunthorpe frame
Gutsy Ansgar makes all
India too hot in Curragh opener
Fourth for Kazeem on return
Kosika crushes Newbury rivals