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Blazing sun brings thousands to Lambourn's big day

Long Run is the star this morning as shows gears up for a packed afternoon programme

LONG RUN, winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, was the star of the show this morning at Lambourn's Betfair Open Day.

Trainer Nicky Henderson's Seven Barrows yard was besieged with thousands of visitors eager to catch a glimpse of the racehourse on his home turf.

As if anticipating the attention, the racehourse was skittish. Stable lass Helen Green, who takes care of the prize racer, said: “I had to take him out this morning. He has been a bit frisky and didn't want to stay in his box!

“He can be a bit temperamental but I'm so proud of him.”

Proud, too, was owner Robert Waley-Cohen, whose son Sam rode Long Run to victory in the Gold Cup.

He posed for pictures with Long Run alongside trainer Nicky Henderson as the crowds thronged around.

Veteran head man at the stables, Corky Brown, said: “It's been a good year for us. There are even more people here than last year.

Spokeswoman for organisers Betfair, Emily Lopez, said: “We usually get around 10,000 visitors but the glorious weather means there will probably be even more by the end of today.

“For the first time this year we have international film crews recording the day.”

Visitors spent the morning touring the stables and meeting trainers.

Forty-two-year-old Ainsley Lewis from Stockcross said: “I backed Long Run to win the Gold Cup. It's nice to see him at home and to see all the hard work that goes into producing a winner.”

Nearby, as if to prove the point, visitors were shown a foot spa bath for the horses in which took cool their inflamed feet after training.

Chapel Forge Farriers and the local veterinary hospital also threw open their doors.

Lambourn village was gridlocked at times as thousands more began to pour in for the afternoon's entertainment.

Many were looking gorward to watching legendary Lambourn jockey AP McCoy take part in the puisaance show jumping along with other top jockeys including John Francome and Mick Fitzgerald.

The afternoon programme will also feature a farrier display, horseball and sheepdog display.

Tickets for this afternoon cost just £6 and children go free.

All money raised supports local charities including the Lambourn Valley Housing Trust and Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance

Check back with Newburytoday.co.uk for more later.

And don't miss next week's Newbury Weekly News which features a full report and lots of pictures.

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