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The likelihood of them finishing the 2014 Virgin Money London Marathon in under 10 hours looks like longer odds than Foinavon.

But the self-confessed plodders that make up the Qatar Racing London marathon team are certainly sporting.

Of the 7 trainers running with their boss, Sheikh Fahad Al Thani, only his bloodstock agent, David Redvers, seems to have run for anything other than last orders before. He’s completed the marathon 3 times.

When the proposal was mooted, said David: “we were treated to as many updates of ailments affecting the trainers as we receive about the horses in their care”.

David Simcock hopes to get round in under 5 hours — but they might need the blinkers for the others.

“I never said I’d run all of it,” grumbled Richard Hannon jnr.

Andrew Balding’s “training” programme was exposed when Ralph Beckett tweeted a picture of him — enjoying a gasper.

And Robert Cowell reports he’s “up to 2½ miles without stopping”. Well done, Robert. That’s only 23½ to go.

➤ The Qatar team are running on behalf of Racing Welfare

This article was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (6 February, 2014)