Grands Crus: has gone nearly two years without winningPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Grands Crus starting from scratch on return
DAVID Pipe has warned Grands Crus will improve for the run when he starts from scratch again at Kempton on Monday, but reports he has summered well.
The grey, who has gone nearly two years without winning since his classy defeat of Silviniaco Conti and Bobs Worth in Kempton's Grade 1 Feltham Novices' Chase, had options in either the bet365 Hurdle or the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on Saturday, but Pipe is pleased he waited for what looks a much less demanding affair, in which Grands Crus has topweight but faces only five rivals.
He said: "I think this is the right race for him and he's in good form at home, but he'll improve for the run. I just want to see him enjoy himself and finish his race off better and show his old enthusiasm. They are due a bit of rain, but the ground should be okay for him.
"His last run back over hurdles at Aintree was a lot better as he travelled a lot stronger before not quite seeing out the three miles. He's starting from scratch again but he's had a good summer holiday. We'll see how he goes here before making plans."
Among those rivals is Irish challenger The Crafty Butcher, who is seeking a hat-trick after wins at Listowel and Gowran Park.
His trainer Michael Hourigan said: "The reason we're going is that it is the first stage of the qualifiers for the Pertemps and we're hoping to get him qualified [for the final at the Cheltenham Festival].
"He didn't have a nice crossing on Saturday night though, it was pretty rough, but he's arrived there safe and sound now.
"He's progressing nicely and I've been happy with him."