SEVEN Barrows trainer Nicky Henderson could have as many as three runners in this year's William Hill King George VI Chase with Long Run, Riverside Theatre and Finian's Rainbow all in contention for Boxing Day.
Long Run and Riverside Theatre filled the first two positions in the famous Kempton chase two years ago, while the former went on to finish an honourable second to Kauto Star just under 12 months later.
It was a longer road back for Riverside Theatre, who was not ready for another King George bid and did not reappear until Ascot last February and went on to lift the Ryanair Chase before a moderate outing at Aintree.
"Riverside Theatre is very good, and the plan was not to run before Kempton," said Lambourn handler Henderson.
"I wanted to take him for a racecourse gallop at Newbury on Sunday but that's not going to happen, and I might take him to Kempton early next week."
Long Run appeared none the worse for his first outing of the campaign in last weekend's Betfair Chase as he stood in front of the cameras on a very chilly morning at Seven Barrows near Lambourn.
The 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero was beaten two and a half lengths by Silviniaco Conti at Haydock, and his trainer said: "He has come back fine. Ruby Walsh got a good lead on Silviniaco Conti and at least we haven't had a great battle, like we had with Kauto Star last year."
The third member, last season's Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Finian's Rainbow, flopped on his intended prep-race for the King George at Ascot over the weekend.
Henderson said: "He was very disappointing at Ascot. He was the one of my runners I didn't think would be beaten but it went pear-shaped.
"We looked at his scope and his blood but it hasn't shown anything. Barry (Geraghty) is adamant it was just the ground and he has come back fresh.
"He might run, as where else is there to go?"
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