Paul Townend, so often in the shadow of Ruby Walsh, gets his chance to make headlines of his own with the plum ride on Prince De Beauchene in the Grand National at Aintree.
Dual National winner Walsh broke his arm at the Cheltenham Festival, leaving stable number two Townend to take the ride on Saturday (Sunday AEST).
The horse has missed the past two runnings through injuries when he would have been a leading contender.
“He’s never run over the National fences before and has missed the last two when it’s been his aim,” Townend said.
“The trip is a bit of an unknown, but I think he will stay.
“He brings a touch of class, has a lovely racing weight and if he gets into a rhythm you never know.”
Owner Robert Waley-Cohen and his jockey-son, Sam, have enjoyed great success over the Aintree fences but it could all pale into insignificance if Long Run wins.
Long Run is searching for his own piece of history as no horse as ever won the King George at Kempton, the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the biggest race of them all in Liverpool.
The Nicky Henderson-trained nine-year-old may not be the force of old but there is no doubt he has been given a chance by the handicapper.
“Myself and Sam have enjoyed plenty of luck over the fences in the past, but I still get a tingle ahead of the National as it’s a great race,” Robert Waley-Cohen said.
“All you can wish for is a clear run and then take it from there.”
Henderson is four-handed as he seeks to win the great race for the first time with Hennessy winner Triolo D’Alene, Hunt Ball and Shakalakaboomboom completing his party.
Tony McCoy chose Double Seven, trained by Martin Brassil, ahead of Ted Walsh’s Colbert Station as his mount for his boss J P McManus.
Teaforthree gave connections a huge thrill when third 12 months ago and ran a respectable race in the Gold Cup.
“He took to the Grand National fences last year,” trainer Rebecca Curtis said.
“I thought he ran a blinder in the Gold Cup, it was the ideal prep run.”
“I’d have to say I think he’s in better form than last year.
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