Crus Chase Debut In Betfair Chase

The David Pipe-trained Grand Crus ended last term as the second best staying hurdler in training after a couple of stirring battles with the almost unbeatable Big Buck’s and could make a sensational debut over the larger obstacles in bidding for the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock on November 19 against the likes of Long Run, Kauto Star and Diamond Harry, writes Elliot Slater.

The fact that an experienced top-flight trainer like David Pipe is even considering taking on such tough opposition on the gelding’s first start over fences suggests very strongly that Grand Crus has been doing everything right at home, and there is no doubt that the grey has a serious engine as demonstrated on multiple occasions last season where he strung together a series of fine efforts. Those following the Betfair Chase betting odds should bear this in mind.

Starting last term with a handicap rating of just 126, the six-year-old Dom Alco gelding sauntered to handicap victories at Cheltenham and in listed company at Haydock before proving too good (off a 32lb higher mark) for the useful Knockara Beau in the Grade 2 Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham in January. Raised a further 11lbs to mark of 169 Grand Crus then went up against the superstar that is Big Buck’s in the Grade 1 Ladbrokes World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March where he drew alongside the champ at the final flight but couldn’t get by despite a tremendously tenacious effort. Those betting horse racing money will know it was an excellent race.

Locking horns again with the Paul Nicholls-trained superstar, Pipe’s youngster led briefly at the second last in the Grade 1 Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree three weeks later but couldn’t respond after the final flight and went down to a five-length defeat. A subsequent effort when outpaced in the closing stages of the French Champion Hurdle in June was probably one race too many for the season.

Generally on offer at 20/1 to stun the racing world with a win at the first time of asking in the very best of company in the Betfair Chase, it will be fascinating to see how Grand Crus fairs if indeed he is allowed to take his chance at Haydock.