Grands Crus: bids to give David Pipe back-to-back wins in the Paddy PowerPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Crus as short as 2-1 to land Paddy Power spoils
GRANDS CRUS continued to shorten at the head of the market for the Paddy Power Gold Cup on Monday after his trainer David Pipe again reiterated his belief that the horse is "reasonably treated" off an official handicap mark of 157.
Bet365 and BetVictor cut his price to 2-1 (from 5-2), with Boylesports and William Hill going the same price (from 9-4) after a field of 22 were confirmed for the race.
Grands Crus will be bidding to give Pipe back-to-back wins in the Paddy Power following the success of Great Endeavour last year, in a race the trainer's father, Martin, dominated in the past.
Assessing the chances of him giving the stable a tenth win, Pipe told his website: "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.
"He has always shown plenty of speed so the trip of 2m4½f 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."
The other big mover on Monday was Al Ferof, who is vying for third spot in the market following an upbeat report from trainer Paul Nicholls in his Racing Post Sable Tour.
Ladbrokes go 7-1 (from 12-1) after describing him as the "ugliest blot" in their ante-post market. Spokesman David Williams added: "He looks to be the real springer in the betting and won at this meeting last year."
There was just under 2mm of rain at Cheltenham on Monday but clerk of the course Simon Claisse has left the going unchanged.
He said: "I've left the going as good to soft, good in places on both the hurdles and chase courses, and good to soft, soft in places for the cross-country course.
"We are expecting a shower on Tuesday but it should be dry on Wednesday and Thursday. Rain is then due on Friday afternoon or evening and into that night."