The past two Cheltenham Festivals have seen David Pipe’s Pond House team toasting a Grade 1 success, first with Western Warhorse in the Arkle before Moon Racer landed last year’s Champion Bumper.
While making that stat stretch another year might be a bod ask, the Nicholashayne trainer has ample opportunity to strike next week at Prestbury Park.
With a huge battalion of charges entered for the four-day bonanza, Ladbrokes News caught up with him to get the latest on a number of his big chances…
Moon Racer – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (20/1)
“It’s still 50-50 [whether he runs in the Supreme], the decision will be made at the weekend. He’s in good order and has schooled nicely at home but it’s obviously a big ask first time out.
“He’s had a good preparation but we’ve been against the clock with him. It’s nice to see [the Bumper form working out well], but we know he’s a good horse and it’s just about keeping him in one piece and healthy.”
“One of the owners is coming back tonight and I imagine he will be confirmed for all three [races] at the five day stage and then a decision will be made closer to the time.
“He hasn’t reached the heights over fences that he did over hurdles as yet, so hence he’s got a lower handicap mark.
“There’s no reason why he can’t be as good over fences as he was over hurdles, but sometimes this happens.
“The softer the ground the better [it will be] for him.”
“He’s been very disappointing. He had a wind op and then went to Chepstow the other day and was disappointing again. We may well take our chance at Cheltenham anyway, he’s in good form at home but he’s got to show it on the track now.”
“He’s had plenty of problems and once again he’s not getting any younger. He’s in good form at home and ran well in the Charlie Hall, but his season’s been disappointing since.
“We’re hoping he might be able to bounce back with some better ground but really we’re just living in hope.
“He’ll probably be left in everything at the five-day stage and see what stands its ground.”
“He’s jumped his fences better than his hurdles so far this season, but that has been in small novice chases and obviously he’ll be faced with a maximum field in a big handicap next.
“He’ll step up in trip which will suit and he’d be one of my best hopes for the week.
“I don’t think the handicapper has been overly kind with us. He’s put us on a mark of 141 to keep us out of the two-and-a-half-mile novice handicap [Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase} which is for horses 0-140.”
“He wants better ground and has taken a while to come right. He’s in the Midlands National or may squeeze into one of the handicaps at the bottom.
“He ran well in the Kim Muir last year and we’ll just have to see what the owners want to do.”
“I don’t know where he’ll go at the present moment. We’ll have to see but once again he’s been disappointing so I’m surprised he’s in the betting to be honest!”
“He could run in the four miler or the other two three-mile handicaps. He’s done well this season and won’t mind the hustle and bustle of Cheltenham so would have to be a lively outsider.”
Vieux Lion Rouge – National Hunt Chase (25/1)
“He could go for the four-miler or he may go for the Midlands National. He ran very well at Ascot last time and gives the impression that a step up to four miles will suit.
“You obviously don’t know until you’ve tried but he’s done well this season.”
“We’ve got to decide [whether he runs in the Imperial Cup] tomorrow. It’s probably more likely that he’ll go straight to Cheltenham at the moment with the County Hurdle being the most likely race.
“His [six pound rise in the weights] isn’t going to make life any easier in but we tried to win a big pot at Newbury. He ran a cracking race first time out and bumped into one, but I’m sure there will be others he could bump into in the County.”
“He’ll either run in the Coral Cup or my father’s race. He’s a good horse on his day but is hard to get right but is in good form at present.”
Dynaste – Ryanair Chase (20/1)
“I thought he ran well [in the Ascot Chase] and will go to the Ryanair. He’s a good horse but he’s not getting any younger so we will be hoping it cuts up a bit and we’re hoping for a good run.
“He hadn’t been finishing his races and the combination of a wind op and the blinkers helped him.
“He was off the bridle from Swinley Bottom and he kept on galloping all the way to the line so it was good result.
“Both myself and his owner would be more than happy if he could finish in the first four. There’s some young ones coming through but he’s been brilliant for Pond House over the years and deserves to take his chance.”
Broadway Buffalo – Kim Muir Challenge Cup (14/1)
“The Grand National Trial was a gruelling race so whether we go to Cheltenham, the Midlands National or straight to Aintree we have to decide that. Cheltenham may come a bit quick for him.”
“The blinkers will be staying on for Cheltenham. Whether she would have won or not [at Wincanton last week] is debatable but she did seem to see her race out better which she hadn’t been doing.
“She’s in races over all sorts of trips but I suppose the two-mile-five handicap [Brown Advisory Plate] would be her favourite race.”
Champers on Ice – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (33/1)
“He’ll run in the Albert Bartlett. He’s in good form and is stepping up to three miles for the first time which should suit and is a lively outsider.
“He’s been beaten twice by Shantou Village and there’s no reason really why we can reverse the form at Cheltenham. You’d imagine that Shantou Village would appreciate the step up in trip as much as us but it’s about who gets there fittest and healthiest. We’re in good form and I’m looking to see him over three miles.”
All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing.