Waley-Cohen relishing Aintree
Sam Waley-Cohen is hoping Long Run's class will come to the fore when he lines up in the Crabbie's Grand National on April 5.
The 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner is set to tackle the unique Aintree fences for the first time after failing to hit his usual heights so far this term.
Well beaten in two initial starts, he unshipped Waley-Cohen in the King George on Boxing Day but bounced back to winning form when dropped in class at Kelso last month.
Waley-Cohen reports his big-race mount, who is trained by Nicky Henderson, to be in good form ahead of his National assignment and believes his natural ability will stand him in good stead.
"We're very happy with him. In many ways the season hasn't gone to plan, but we went to Kelso and that was a great confidence-boosting run," he told Channel 4's The Morning Line.
"You need a horse with class. If a horse can't travel comfortably, you're in trouble. If you're always having to ask and push you never get into it. For me, you want a horse that can gallop and attack fences otherwise it's hard work."
The Aintree fences have been significantly altered in recent years and while Waley-Cohen insists Long Run is a good jumper, he admits he may not have tackled the race without the changes to the obstacles.
He said: "They are definitely different. They're a bit more forgiving and you can get away with a little bit more. I can't wait to ride him. People make a lot of his jumping and say he's not a good jumper, but I don't think that's accurate. He is a good jumper.
"We wouldn't have (run him over the old fences), there is truth to that. He's gets a bit casual, he runs into one or gets racing and gets a bit casual.
"When you see him meet a fence right, he really uses himself well, he's neat and powerful. With the National fences, they back them off and they can think about them and respect them."