Long Run got up in the final strides to collar Captain Chris and regain his crown in the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton.
Captain Chris looked like going two places better than last year when he came through to head the winner of two seasons ago. However, Long Run, the 15-8 favourite trained by Nicky Henderson, rallied for amateur Sam Waley-Cohen, to get back up and score by a neck.
The winning rider said: "He was so brave. I had to keep asking him - I asked him early and maybe I asked too much as he was tired but so brave. This is his fifth year of competing at this level and he means an enormous amount to us. That was racing at it's best for me. I can't put it into words. It's an honour and a privilege."
Considering the Gold Cup, for which sponsors Betfred cut Long Run to 6-1, Waley-Cohen said: "It's going to be a different type of race at Cheltenham - I hope it's not as testing or as wet and the earlier races here have made a difference to the ground. It's hard to know if you're going to get home, but the horse is just a star."
Long Run is owned by Waley-Cohen's father Robert, who added: "He's come here four times now and won three Grade Ones and been second to Kauto Star. I wasn't absolutely sure that we had got back up but as I came down the stairs from the stand, I saw his name go up and that was fantastic."
Henderson was similarly thrilled to see his former Cheltenham Gold Cup victor return to winning form, saying: "It was a brave call to go on when he did and it was the right call to make. It was a battle out there today and not the best ground for any of them. You would have to say last year was a disappointment but he's been running good races all the time.
"We had it in our minds that Bobs Worth would run in the Cheltenham race in January (Argento Chase), leaving Long Run free to run in the Denman (Aon) Chase at Newbury, but we'll have to discuss things with connections. I'd love to see Long Run back on better ground and I'm so pleased Sam and the horse have proved a point to people today."
Richard Johnson was given a nine-day ban (January 9-17) and fined £900 by the stewards for exceeding the permitted level with the whip on Captain Chris. He said: "I thought coming to the last I was going to win, but the other horse is a proven Gold Cup winner and he's just outstayed me.
"It was a great run and I'm just looking forward to riding him on better ground."
Grands Crus travelled notably well on his return from a breathing operation and just tied up in the final stages to pass the past 14 lengths further back in third. Jockey Tom Scudamore said: "He ran a great race and I'm most pleased he looks a lot more like his old self."
22 October 2014Deputy outgunned at Fontwell
Wetherby-bound Taquin to duck Power
Whisky chasing Power spoils
High hopes for Adelaide run
Burke maps out Odeliz targets
Present sights set on Power prize
Gilgamboa waits on ground
New category for all-weather champs
Moviesta has sales date
National aim for O'Neill star
Cheltenham on Ginge agenda
Lewis eyeing Dubai success
Henderson handed Ascot role
Dandino misses Cup date
Panther given Breeders' go-ahead
Plain sailing for perfect Storm
Big Easy sets sail for Open fixture
Hall monitored for Giant Bolster
Stomachion in November frame
Hughes revels in 'sweet' success
BHA moves to address small fields
Connell turns to Heskin
Integral to race on next year
21 October 2014Storm breezes to Exeter victory
Moore concedes title to Hughes
Meade maps out gameplan for stars
Pele poised to tackle Hennessy
O'Neill sure of Taquin redemption
Heron seeking Great prize
Court to go on Trial
Saviour blow for Skelton
Dan makes chase debut
Moore waits on Grugy decision
O'Neill outlines That choices
Conn possible for Auction bid
Power team weigh up options
Bangor cancel schooling card
No rushing back for Long Run
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Grands Crus retired
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Park favourite for Trophy hunt
Al Kazeem team eye Hong Kong trip
Commemorative bound for Breeders'
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20 October 2014Chelmsford City handed 58 fixtures
Alderwood to take two-mile test
Dynaste leads Old Roan contenders
Hennessy aim for Clouds
Fiesolana on Breeders' trail
High-class possibilities for Trophy
Chelmsford City handed 57 fixtures
French option for Maarek
Billy back for chasing bow
Judge to bid for Breeders' glory
Pipe mulls Moon target
High hopes for Holywell
Judge in Breeders' frame
Hill stars for Stoute and Moore
Gabriel lifts Garnet for Deegan
New One back with a win
Light career hangs in balance
Stars shines on hurdling debut
King big guns ready to start
Tullius camp consider options
Doyle unlikely to appeal Ascot ban
Mullins prepares formidable team
19 October 2014New One breezes to victory
Lavelle has Becher plan for Lodge
Riches heading on road north
Down Royal plan for Tiger
New makes Kempton return
Panther hunting Canadian prize
Sun takes a shine to Cork
Hobbs upholds Showcase record
Another gold strike for Bronze
Gallant Noble a true Champion
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Madame is Ascot leading lady