SAM WALEY-COHEN believes he was acting in the best interests of Long Run when appearing to ease down on him at Carlisle on Sunday, as he vowed to appeal the subsequent seven-day ban he received from the stewards.
On what was Long Run‘s first start since 2014, Waley-Cohen gave his mount an easy time of things after the final fence when appearing well beaten and was passed by two other runners to finish fifth.
The 2011 Gold Cup winner was retired following the race and Waley-Cohen told At The Races on Monday morning that he had been trying to take care of the horse.
“You have to act in the best interests of the horse and it’s disappointing to pick up a ban,” he said. “It’s something that I am going to be appealing because I felt that it didn’t reflect the situation fully.”
‘He did the right thing’
Waley-Cohen on Sunday received the backing of his father Robert, Long Run’s owner and now trainer, who described the ban as unfair.
“I’ll appeal,” he said. “It is most unfair. I would rather he got a ban than ruin the horse, he did the right thing.”
Jockey pays tribute
Sam Waley-Cohen was on Monday keen to reflect on the career of Long Run, who he said had been a “flag carrier for racing” during a career in which he won two King Georges as well as his unforgettable Cheltenham Gold Cup triumph of 2011.
“He was a phenomenal horse,” he said. “Not only to beat some of the great heroes of racing [in the Gold Cup] but to do it with an amateur on him and in a course record just put into context what an amazing horse he was.
“To do it as a six-year-old was just another layer of what a precocious horse and fantastic athlete he was and is.”
‘The retirement from heaven’
Regarding plans for the 11-year-old’s retirement, Waley-Cohen said there are plenty of options available but that the horse’s well being will be foremost in any decision.
“I think he’s got the retirement from heaven really,” he said. “No doubt he’ll be pampered and petted at home.
“We’ll just see what to do. He’s a fantastic mover, so maybe he’ll go and do some retraining of racehorse classes or hunting and just be a horse at home. It really is about whatever he is showing he enjoys.”