David Pipe: Grands Crus has two possible targets for Cheltenham Festival
Grands Crus still has the Ladbrokes World Hurdle and Ryanair Chase as his possible Cheltenham Festival targets as the grey recovers from an ulcer problem.
Third in the King George VI Chase after having a breathing operation, the eight-year-old ran poorly once again when pulled up in the Argento Chase at Cheltenham last month.
Trainer David Pipe said: “He was given an easy time of things after his race while we tried to get to the bottom of his lacklustre effort and he is now being treated for gastric ulcers.
“He is back on the gallops and looks well in himself so I will need to speak with his owners and decide the plan of action.
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“Tomorrow (Tuesday) there is a forfeit stage for the Gold Cup, Ryanair Chase and World Hurdle and I can inform you that he will be scratched from the Gold Cup but will be left in both the Ryanair Chase and World Hurdle.”
Pipe’s horses confirmed Swing Bowler could be given the option of the Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle after her fine effort behind My Tent Or Yours in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury. His two Exeter winners, Vieux Lion Rouge and The Liquidator, are in contention for the Champion Bumper, while Broadway Buffalo remains unbeaten after his hurdling debut at Newcastle.
Pipe said of Broadway Buffalo: “He is entered in the Neptune Investment Hurdle and the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival.”
A reason for what looked a below-par performance by Puffin Billy at Exeter appears to have been revealed, with the smart novice hurdler found to have pus in one of his hooves.
Oliver Sherwood’s gelding was sent off the odds-on favourite but proved no match for Melodic Rendezvous and was beaten by nine lengths.
Found to be lame by the Exeter vets, Puffin Billy has entries in the William Hill Supreme and Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdles at Cheltenham. Sherwood said: “My farrier dug out a whole load of pus from one of his feet (on Monday).
“What with the wet weather, it’s like getting a blister and he’ll have two or three quiet days having it poulticed.
“Hopefully he’ll be able to be ridden towards the end of the week.”
Wincanton is set to stage an all-hurdles card on Saturday after announcing that the chases have been abandoned.
The Somerset course will hold the final significant Champion Hurdle trial at the weekend, the Bathwick Tyres Kingwell Hurdle, but the entries for the Grade Two event have been reopened until Tuesday.
Two handicap chases and a veterans’ event, all sponsored by Bathwick Tyres, have been scratched and new hurdles races will replace them on ground which is currently soft, heavy in places.