2011 will be a vintage year for Grands Crus – World Hurdle Preview

If there is one horse in the World Hurdle field who is capable of bustling up the favourite it’s David Pipe’s Grands Crus. The owners, Roger Stanley and Yvonne Reynolds will be hoping so. Their Madison Du Berlais was the last horse to beat Big Buck`s in the 2008 Hennessy Gold Cup.

The six year old Grand Crus is a progressive novice hurdler, whose last run was at Haydock in a Listed fixed brush handicap hurdle where he absolutely dotted up. Previously, he was was impressive when winning a handicap hurdle at The Open meeting at Cheltenham racecourse in November which gives him the all important tick in the box for course form. He could be one of the those Pipe horses from the Martin Pipe era that improve through handicaps to win at Championship level at the Cheltenham Festival. Make A Stand anyone?

Showing little in his first two runs he had progressed rapidly with each race but still only has 7 lifetime runs under his belt so there is room for plenty of further progress. He’ll need to make it though with Big Bucks on an official rating of 174 and Grand Crus on 132.

I’ve had my eye on Grands Crus for some time but as regular readers know, selections have to be nominated for their target at the Festival, and the Pipe stable have now done so. Grands Cru is one of 46 entries for the race that were published last week but I can see a small field turning out on the day. Sadly, the 20/1 available has now gone following the Haydock win and the confirmation he’s an intended runner but the 12/1 now available is still a value price. As well as being a selection with no negatives, many of the runners are likely to run elsewhere and this only strengthens the case for taking the price now. Out of the top 15 in the market I would guess that only the selection plus Big Bucks, Mourad, Zaynar, Karabak and Ashkazar (Pipe stable other entry) and maybe 1 or 2 others will actually run.

Of course, the World Hurdle revolves around Big Bucks, an equine superstar who is now unbeaten in 10 runs and he is likely to start a very short price at the Festival (currently trading at a general 4/7). But as Martin Pipe himself use to say. ‘you should never be afraid of one horse’ and Big Bucks’ winning streak will surely come to an end one day. Given the each way terms of a 1/4 1,2,3 the 12/1 about Grands Crus is very reasonable and coming 2rd or 3rd will provide us with a 2 point profit.

Recommended bet: 1 point ew Grands Crus 12/1 – Generally – World Hurdle