Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pipe's Winner Is in Crus Control

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pipe's Winner Is in Crus Control

Article excerpt

DAVID Pipe's great grey hope Grands Crus gave every impression he could be as capable over fences as he was over hurdles with an almost flawless debut in the Steel Plate And Sections Novices' Chase at Cheltenham yesterday , writes TOM PEACOCK. The normally reserved Pipe talks in rare terms about Grands Crus, whose only defeats last season came to the incredible Big Buck's at the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals, and the trainer looked particularly edgy in the preliminaries.

One minor fault for an over-exuberant leap at the top of the hill aside, the 6-4 favourite was operating at another level to very smart horses like Champion Court and Zaynar and eventually finished 10 lengths clear.

Weekend cards start 69 It was only a pity his major market rival Cue Card unseated Joe Tizzard at the 11th fence of a race won by such luminaries as Denman, Imperial Commander and Time For Rupert, or Grands Crus might have been given more of a test.

Pipe said: "Horses like this do not come around too often, so the main feeling was relief.

"It was disappointing for racegoers with Cue Card exiting, but it was not all about winning - it was about getting some experience under our belt.

"The race was not run to suit, but he did everything asked of him.

"If he is nearly as good over fences as he was over hurdles, we are in for a lot of fun."

Looking further ahead, he said: "We might look at something like the Feltham at Kempton, so we will have to discuss whether he has another run before then.

"He will be entered for the RSA, but also for the two-and-a-half-miles race (Jewson)."

Asked about a speculative Gold Cup entry, Pipe added: "I am not going to say no, but he has a long way to go before that." Jockey Tom Scudamore added: "He is still keen, but has become a man. Those battles with Big Buck's have made him battle-hardened.

"I know he made a mistake at the ditch, but any novice can do that. Other than that he was foot perfect. …

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