Somerset trainer David Pipe rates unbeaten chaser Dynaste as his best chance of a winner at the Cheltenham Festival – but he does not yet know which race he will run in.
The striking grey gelding is favourite for both the RSA Chase over three miles and the Jewson Novices’ Chase over two-and-half miles after winning all three of his races over fences this term.
Pipe wants to maximise his chances of success at the Festival on March 12 to 15 and will spend the rest of the build-up assessing which is the most winnable option.
“He’s still in the two races and he’ll probably still be in the two races at the five-day stage,” said Pipe. “He’s in good form and he’s done nothing wrong this season. He had a good season last season and he’s bigger and stronger now.
“He’s won over two-and-half miles twice and then put up a very good performance over three miles in the Feltham.
“He won’t mind what the ground is at Cheltenham. He’s got to be my best chance – he looks rock solid.”
Pipe – son of 15-time champion trainer Martin – suffered a reverse in last year’s RSA Chase when hot favourite Grands Crus could finish only fourth behind Bobs Worth.
Grands Crus has been pulled up twice this season either side of finishing third in the King George VI Chase at Kempton.
Pipe admitted the eight-year-old, who was the most talked-about horse in the build-up to last year’s Festival, could miss the showpiece meeting.
“He’s in the two races at Cheltenham – the World Hurdle and the Ryanair Chase – and we’ll just take it day by day,” he said. “Obviously it’s been a frustrating season this year. He disappointed in the Paddy Power Gold Cup and we cauterised his palate after that and he ran a cracking race in the King George.
“He had a hard race that day and perhaps the Argento Chase came too quickly.
“We found he had ulcers afterwards and also a ‘blood’ man felt he was in the early stages of going down with something.
“All I can tell you is he’s the same horse on the gallops and Gerry Supple, who rides him out says he feels no different.”