Just like his record-breaking father Martin, whose Pond House Stables he took over seven years ago, David Pipe kept his specific plans close to his chest when parading a few of his likely runners for the meeting at a gathering on Tuesday.
As the team will be looking to plot their paths through the handicaps, many of the horses are entered in more than one race. Dynaste is the clear favourite for the RSA Chase but also sits at the top of the betting for the Jewson Novices’ Chase, and Pipe maintained a firm decision has not been made.
Dynaste has followed the same route as stablemate Grands Crus did a year ago, winning at Cheltenham, Newbury and then the Feltham at Kempton on Boxing Day. The elder horse was disappointing in the RSA Chase but Pipe said: “He’s still in the two races, and he’ll probably still be in two at the five-day stage. His owner is coming down this week, and wants to see what he’s going to run in. He has done nothing wrong and, hopefully, he will go and do it in March. He is my shortest priced horse, so he must be my best chance. He looks rock-solid.”
Pipe could have other runners in the major staying novice event, with the lightly-raced Goulanes in the picture after scoring on his debut over regulation fences in the Towton Novices’ Chase at Wetherby. “He stays well and the great thing about him is his attitude,” Pipe said. “He’s in the RSA and the four-miler. I think Roger Brookhouse [owner] is keen on the RSA.”
Buddy Bolero could also go for the four-mile National Hunt Chase, while Pipe did not totally rule out Our Father, who has flopped twice since his impressive Cheltenham reappearance.
Grands Crus’ full-brother Gevrey Chambertin, who last took a handicap at Wincanton in easy fashion, is clearly one of Pipe’s other great hopes.
“He won off a mark of 130 in not a great race and the handicapper has put him up to 145. He will find it tougher but he is improving at a rate of knots,” he said. “He’s in the Neptune and the Albert Bartlett and will be entered for the Coral Cup, my father’s race and the Pertemps. We’ll see what the ground and opposition is.”