This weekend sees the Gold Cup hero, Long Run, make his return to the track as he starts his campaign at Haydock in the Betfair Chase. The Nicky Henderson horse established himself as the best chaser in the country last season as he won the King George Chase and the Gold Cup at Cheltenham and all eyes are on him again as we look forward to this weekend. The Betfair has grown into one of the premier early season Gold Cup trials and it is looking like a hot renewal this season with a number of Cheltenham hopefuls set to stake their Festival claims. Most of the attention will be on Long Run though and he is a hot favourite in the betting to start the season off with a win before he returns to Kempton for the King George on Boxing Day.
There is however plenty of good opposition set to oppose Long Run at Haydock with Diamond Harry perhaps his most likely Betfair Chase challenger. The Nick Williams horse has been off the track since he won the Hennessy Gold Cup almost a year ago and he has long been considered a star chaser. Diamond Harry will have to run a career best if he is to challenge Long Run but it is not beyond the realms of possibility with Long Run likely to improve for the run. The Betfair Chase has another angle to it this year with Cheltenham Gold Cup legend Kauto Star set to take his chance for Paul Nicholls. The dual Gold cup winner is close to retirement but a good run at Haydock could see him have one more run at the Cheltenham Festival in March, punters will be desperate to see Kauto run a big race and he is sure to be well backed.