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David Pipe has reaffirmed his belief Grands Crus is a well handicapped horse ahead of his eagerly anticipated return at Cheltenham.

The top-class staying hurdler made a brilliant start to his career over fences last term, completing a hat-trick with a devastating performance in the Feltham Novices’ Chase at Kempton, beating the likes of Silviniaco Conti and Bobs Worth with ease.

He failed to come up with the goods when widely considered as one of the bankers of the Festival in the RSA Chase, but scoped badly after finishing fourth and connections are in confident mood ahead of the first major handicap of the new campaign.

Pipe won the Paddy Power Gold Cup 12 months ago with the ill-fated Great Endeavour and his father also had an enviable record in the race.

“I have made no secret of the fact that I consider a mark of 157 to be reasonable enough, especially with the likes of Silviniaco Conti franking the form in no uncertain terms in the Charlie Hall Chase,” the trainer told his website www.davidpipe.com.

“He has always shown plenty of speed so the trip of two and a half miles for him first time up should be ideal – they will be going a good clip and that should help him settle early on. He will be my only runner in the race.”

 
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