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Grands Crus - Kempton - 26.12.2011

Grands Crus is "not too badly handicapped" according to trainer David Pipe

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

Scudamore confident Grands Crus can deliver

GRANDS CRUS, ante-post favourite for Saturday's Paddy Power Gold Cup, will be hard to beat if back to his best in the first big betting race of the jumps season, according to jockey Tom Scudamore.

Scudamore has ridden the David Pipe-trained seven-year-old in all but two of his 15 starts and thinks he can jusitify his position at the head of the market for the Cheltenham handicap as long as he turns in a better performance than when fourth in the RSA Chase at the track in March.

Grands Crus is 2-1 with Ladbrokes, but can be backed at 5-2 generally and Scudamore told At The Races on Friday night: "He's in very good form. I'm very happy with him and certainly wouldn't swap him.

"He's got to bounce back from a disappointing run in the RSA, but he's not the first to disappoint in that and won't be the last.

"He's in great order. We need luck in running, but I'm as confident as I can be."

Pipe, who trains Grands Crus for Roger Stanley and Yvonne Reynolds and won the Paddy Power with Great Endeavour last year, has described the gelding as "not too badly handicapped," but him and Scudamore are not the only connections optimistic of a decent performance.

Hunt Ball is next best in the betting at 7-1 and his ebullient owner Anthony Knott said: "When Nick Scholfield lets him loose three out, I can't see anything staying with him. I have had £20,000 on him at 10s and 9s."

Four races from Cheltenham, including the Paddy Power, are live on Channel 4 on Saturday, while Lingfield's two Listed races will also be broadcast.

Read David Pipe's column in Saturday's Racing Post, which also includes the best tipping advice from Pricewise - get the paper on your iPad from 8pm on Friday or download the digital edition from 3am on Saturday

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