Long Run - Sam Waley-Cohen

Bob Champion Backs Long Run For National

The Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster on March 1st was supposed to give punters a little bit of an insight into the form of some of the 2014 Crabbies Grand National hopefuls with the likes of Monbeg Dude, Godsmejudge, Mon Parrain and Storm Survivor all lining up.

But following numerous terrible performances that included Godsmejudge being pulled-up, legendary Grand National jockey Bob Champion offered a logical perspective when suggesting Long Run for next month’s race.

Champion believes that Long Run is a class act and has what it takes to get around the Aintree fences saying: “For a horse that’s won a Cheltenham Gold Cup and King George VI Chase twice, he is bar far the best horse in the race.

“Also, he is incredibly well- handicapped. He’s getting weight from a 13-year-old, Tidal Bay, who has never won a Gold Cup.”

He also added: “I also like his rider, Sam Waley-Cohen. He might be an amateur but he rides well and has an excellent record over the National fences.”

A Champion in more ways than just name, his Grand National story is one of the greatest ever told and his 1981 pairing with Aldaniti is the stuff of legends.

In 1979, Champion was diagnosed with testicular cancer and doctors gave him a maximum of eight months to live, with only a 40 per cent chance of survival.

Defying both them and the odds, he paired up with Aldaniti in 1981 winning the race in such magnificent fashion that his story was turned into a film ‘Champions’, with John Hurt portraying Bob Champion.

So it’s Long Run for Bob Champion and if you want to follow his lead then he is still available, ante-post, from Paddy Power at 16/1.