Ladbrokes NRNB for Cheltenham so it’s time to back Grands Crus

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Which race, if any, Grands Crus participates in at the Cheltenham Festival remains one of the great unknowns, but the fact that Ladbrokes have gone non runner no bet across all 27 races means he can now be backed without fear of ante-post stakes going down without a run.

The favoured option seems to be the Ryanair Chase over 2m4f, but there is certainly a fair suggestion that his best chance of victory would be a return to the smaller obstacles for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle.

Grands Crus has had a difficult year, pulling up on his two visits to Cheltenham in the Paddy Power Gold Cup and Argento Chase, while running eye-catchingly in between when third in the King George.

The consistent problem is that Grands Crus has not finished a race anywhere close to sufficiently since winning the Feltham Chase on Boxing Day in 2011, although excuses have regularly been indicated for his failures.

A wind operation did seem to help in the King George, while ulcers were found after the Argento.

Grands Crus is 10/1 for both the Ryanair and the World Hurdle and preference should certainly be for the latter.

It should not be forgotten that Grands Crus has previously finished second in a World Hurdle when pushing Big Buck’s to the line and the four-time champ is one of a raft of key absentees for the 3m contest this year.

The race is effectively a shot to nothing for Grands Crus given that a return to hurdles may help rediscover former glories and if he flops, nothing is really lost.

From a trends perspective, the fact that the last 25 winners of the World Hurdle had finished in the first four on their last start makes grim reading for Grands Crus, but no horse in this year’s field has a higher official rating than the 169 that he had when chasing home Big Buck’s in 2011.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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