Robert Waley-Cohen explains why Sam is the jockey for Long Run

“I believe Sam is the right man to ride Long Run and that won’t change."

There are many reasons why people enter the precarious world of racehorse ownership.

More often than not, it is to be closer to a sport that thoroughly entertains with the hope that a special moment can be created.

However, for Long Run’s owner, Robert Waley-Cohen, it means much more. It is a family affair.

Waley-Cohen has entrusted his Amateur jockey son, Sam, to ride the 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup champion in all ten of his races since he moved to Nicky Henderson’s Seven Barrows yard, winning five times.

It is a decision that parts of the racing public have criticised connections for.

Nevertheless, it is a choice that Waley-Cohen Snr does not regret.

And with the new National Hunt season under way, he has reiterated his stance that, if available, his son will continue to ride the family’s seven-year-old superstar.

“You do not go into National Hunt racing for anything but for fun,” Waley-Cohen Snr said. “It adds massively to the pleasure and the entertainment of it all when you do it with other members of your family, especially when one of them is actually riding your horse.

“Sam (Waley-Cohen) has had his critics, but he has won a Gold Cup, he has won a King George and he has won three Grade 1s.

“He also holds the track record as the jockey in the Gold Cup, and the track record for over three miles at Newbury when he won the Denman Chase.

“These are all facts.

“I believe Sam is the right man to ride Long Run and that won’t change.

“The way I see it, while I own the horse and Sam is able to ride it, he will continue to ride it.

“People will just have to get used to it.”

Throughout his racing career, Long Run has never finished outside of the top three places.

It is an impressive statistic that has resulted in five Grade 1 victories for the French-bred horse.

Waley-Cohen Snr has reported that Long Run is in good health for the up-coming campaign, and hopes to add more success to his horse’s record of achievement this season.

“He looks well,” he said.

“He’s had a good summer and seems to be nearing full fitness.

“Nicky (Henderson) is very happy with the way he is at the minute so everything is going to plan.

“Providing he is fit, we should go to the Betfair (Chase) and King George this year, then another race, and then the Gold Cup.

“We haven’t quite decided on the race in between the Gold Cup and the King George, but it will either be the Denman Chase, which he won last year, or the Argento at Cheltenham.

“It all depends on everything nearer the time.

“It makes sense to give ourselves options.”

On the subject of contingencies, Waley-Cohen Snr recently surprised punters by announcing that Long Run has been entered for the 2013 Grand National.

Despite not falling in any of the races he has participated in, the 50–1 chance with Stan James for the National has had problems with his jumping.

However, Waley-Cohen Snr stressed that a tilt at Aintree’s prestigious Steeplechase is only a back-up plan if the horse does not make it to the Cheltenham Festival.

He said: “Of course, our main priority is the Gold Cup, but we have also entered him into the Grand National as a back-up plan for now.

“He will definitely not go for both races.

“It would be very irritating to not have any horses in the race (National) at all.

“We don’t want to be in a position like Nathaniel’s connections were earlier this year when their horse didn’t get to the Arc because he was off-colour for a week.”

“We are hoping for a good season.”

Long Run will make his seasonal debut at Haydock in the Betfair Chase on 26th November, where the Waley-Cohen father and son partnership will hope to team up again for more Grade 1 success. 

Interview by James Yellen:

Pictured: Sam Waley-Cohen and Long Run win the 2010 King George VI Chase at Kempton Park Racecourse


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