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Well Chief (lead) - Azertyioup - Sandown

Well Chief (lead): could make his seasonal reappearance at Cheltenham

  PICTURE: Julian Herbert/ Getty Images  

Well Chief heads Pipe Champion Chase team

DAVID PIPE'S injury-plagued star Well Chief could yet make his seasonal reappearance in the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, having been one of five Pond House inmates entered in the 2009 renewal.

The 2005 runner-up started favourite for the two-mile championship race in 2007 but was perhaps a little fresh when falling at the second after an exuberant leap.

The ten-year-old has since run only once and will have been off the track for almost two years when, or if, he lines up at Cheltenham, but connections believe the patience can pay off.

"We've given Well Chief an entry in the Champion Chase and he's cantering at the moment. The Festival is a long way off for him, but he's in good form and, touch wood, his legs seem fine," said Pipe.

"We won't know how good his legs are until he does some quicker work and I doubt there would be time to get a run into him before Cheltenham, but this year will be his final chance to line up in the race, so we have to try."

Trainer David Pipe

David Pipe: made five entries

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker  

Pipe's four other possible contenders are multiple French Grade 1 winner Or Noir De Somoza, who has yet to run for his new trainer, I'm So Lucky, Tamarinbleu and Pablo Du Charmil.

"Or Noir De Somoza holds an entry in the Ryanair Chase and the Gold Cup as well," added Pipe. "He was given an entry in the two-mile Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot next weekend because it was another early closing race, but I have yet to confirm with the owners where he will start off in this country.

"His best form in France is over two and a half miles, but we wanted to cover all of his options at this stage of the season.

"The novice I'm So Lucky will also be entered in the Arkle, while Pablo Du Charmil has been running well lately, and Tamarinbleu, who disappointed in the Champion Chase last season, has also been given an entry in the Ryanair Chase."

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