Dynaste leads Pipe charge
David Pipe has nominated Dynaste as the most obvious candidate to provide him with a ninth Cheltenham Festival success.
Just like his record-breaking father Martin, whose Pond House Stables he took over seven years ago, David Pipe kept 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 generally be looking to plot their paths through the handicaps, many of the horses are entered in more than one race as the trainer sifts through the most viable options.
Dynaste is the clear and shorter 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 exactly 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.
"He has a similar profile to Grands Crus, but more straightforward. 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 very 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, and we'll decide nearer the time. 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 his fallen star Our Father, who has flopped twice since his impressive Cheltenham reappearance.
"Our Father is in the RSA, the JLT and the Pertemps. It would be best to ask him," he remarked of the frustrating individual.
Grands Crus' full-brother Gevrey Chambertin, who last took a handicap at Wincanton in laughably 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 even off 145 it could be a workable mark as 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."
The trainer ruled Flying Cross out of the Champion Hurdle, but Robin Geffen's smart Flat recruit has yet to jump in public.
"I spoke to Robin and he'll either go for the Supreme or the Neptune," he said. "We haven't wanted to rush him but he is improving in his work every day. It will be a big ask but with a rating of 114 on the Flat, he deserves to take his chance."
The Liquidator may be the yard's only runner in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper with last weekend's winner Red Sherlock now wrapped up for the season, and Pipe said the gelding reminded him of their 2003 winner Liberman.
Pipe showed off a handful of other horses, with Close House heading for the Pertemps Final and Tanerko Emery for one of the other handicap hurdles.
A lower hurdles mark could mean Junior runs in the Pertemps, while Grand National fancy The Package will either try the JLT Specialty Chase or head for the Grimthorpe at Doncaster instead. Swing Bowler, who performed so well in the Betfair Hurdle, either tackles the County or the David Nicholson mares' event.