Top UK trainer David Pipe won the Paddy Power Gold Cup with Great Endeavour last season and had a treble on the opening day of the meeting. Pipe tells the Paddy Power Blog team why he thinks Grands Crus can make it back-to-back wins for the Pond House stables on Saturday.
Grands Crus is in good form. We’re pleased with him. He’s won at this meeting the last two seasons and we’re looking forward to it. We’ve opted to come here rather than wait for the three-mile race at Haydock as theoretically he may be well in. He’ll be fresh and keen so the 2m 4f of Cheltenham might just suit him better at this stage of the season.
He’s stronger since his summer break and is coming into his prime now. He’s won three times at Cheltenham and his only disappointing run was in the RSA Chase where he travelled well but Tom Scudamore wasn’t happy a long way from home.
The real thrill last season was the Feltham Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day where he destroyed them on the far side and the time was better than Kauto Star’s in the King George.
The King George looks an ideal race for him but we’ll get Saturday out-of-the-way first.
Al Ferof, Calgary Bay and Walkon are the three I fear. Hunt Ball could continue to improve but I think it’s a big ask for him to keep doing it again and again.
We’ll need a little bit of luck in running to come through the 20-odd runners at the end of the Paddy Power Gold Cup on Saturday.
But I’m hopeful Grands Crus will take all the beating.