Long Run looks to regain lost luster

Updated 26 December 2012
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Long Run looks to regain lost luster

LONDON: Long Run bids today to regain his King George VI Chase crown which he won so impressively two years ago but to do so he must rediscover the form he displayed then.
Long Run — trained by master handler Nicky Henderson — looked as if he was going to dominate the chasing scene for years to come when he won the King George at the astonishingly young age of six and then went on to capture the blue riband of the jumps, the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
However, last season put a dampener on that notion, winding up with a limp defense of his Gold Cup crown when he finished a well-beaten third behind Synchronized, who tragically was killed in the Grand National a month later.
With him gone and the legend Kauto Star retired — and controversially sent to be transformed into a dressage horse — Long Run will take on nine rivals at Kempton Park in what is effectively the mid-season steeplechase championship.
He comes into the race on the back of finishing second behind Silviniaco Conti last month in the Betfair Chase — the same race he was beaten by eight lengths by Kauto Star last season — but Henderson believes that he is in the right form to win.
“Everything has gone right. Haydock went much better this year than it did last year, probably thanks to no Kauto Star to thump him,” the 62-year-old told At The Races.
“OK, we got beaten, but he ran well and was probably straighter and didn’t get quite as hard a race.
“He improved dramatically from last year’s Haydock race to the King George. We only got beaten less then two lengths by Kauto instead of eight.
“We’d expect to find that improvement, and I’d be hopeful that the ground is the one thing that can play to his strengths. Everything has gone well, the schooling has gone well and his work has been great.
“I think he goes in there with as big a chance as he had two years ago and we’d like the same again,” added Henderson, who also saddles Riverside Theatre.
Among those hoping to prevent a repeat of his 2010 victory will be the surprise Gold Cup runner-up The Giant Bolster, who was third in the Betfair and due to be ridden by Tony McCoy, and Captain Chris, who was third in the King George last year.
“He’s flying, in tip-top condition,” said The Giant Bolster’s trainer David Bridgewater.
“It was a superb run at Haydock and he’s come on a bundle from it. I’m getting very excited about the race.” David Pipe has two in the race, Grands Cru and Junior but perhaps the most interesting contender is Kauto Star’s half-brother Kauto Stone, who will sight his stellar relation as he is due to be paraded before the race.
His trainer Paul Nicholls says there is little similarity between the two brothers.
“There aren’t any similarities with Kauto Star. He’s half the size, he’s a different color and has a different profile.
“He doesn’t look a first cousin, but he’s a Grade One winner and a decent horse in his own right.”


Mohamed Salah named Premier League’s best player of the year at PFA awards

Updated 23 April 2018
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Mohamed Salah named Premier League’s best player of the year at PFA awards

  • Egyptian superstar currently has 30 Premier League goals this season
  • Salah beat the likes of De Bruyne and Kane to the award

LONDON: Mohamed Salah was crowned the Premier League’s Players’ Player of the Year on Sunday, with his incredible 41-goal debut season at Liverpool beating out strong competition from Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne.
“It’s a big honor. I’ve worked hard and I’m very happy to win it,” Salah said at the ceremony on Sunday evening.
Salah matched a Premier League record tally for a single season by scoring his 31st league goal of the campaign in a 2-2 draw at West Brom on Saturday.
“You’re comparing your name with some great names,” he said, on the prospect of breaking the record. “To break the Premier League record is something huge in England and all over in the world.
“There are still three games to go. I want to break this record.”
Salah has also netted seven times in eight Champions League games, including in both legs of Liverpool’s 5-1 quarter-final thrashing of City, to carry his side to a first semifinal for a decade.
De Bruyne showed why he had been many people’s early-season favorite for the prize with an incredible long-range strike for his 12th goal of the season to go with a league-high number of assists as champions City thrashed Swansea 5-0 on Sunday.
“From my point of view when you are analizing 10 months, there is no player better than him,” said City manager Pep Guardiola of the Belgian midfielder.
“Maybe there are numbers better but for me he was the best. But it is my opinion, the opinions of the players could be different. But in the end, in summer time he will be at home being champion.”
City did pick up a prize from the PFA gala in central London on Sunday, though, as Leroy Sane won the Young Player of the Year.
Sane, another City team-mate David Silva, De Bruyne, Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea and Tottenham striker Harry Kane were the other five nominees for the main prize.