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Grands Crus ruled out of Festival

ESPN staff
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Grands Crus wno his first three starts over fences © PA Photos
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The will-he, won't-he saga has finally come down in the negative with trainer David Pipe confirming Grands Crus will miss the Cheltenham Festival.

The dashing grey looked to have a massive future when making a deep impression in his novice chase campaign, but he suffered a setback prior to last season's Cheltenham Festival and disappointed in the RSA Chase. He has disappointed on a number of occasions this term, but had a wind operation and was then treated for stomach ulcers.

Grands Crus impressed in a gallop last week, after which the possibility of a tilt at the World Hurdle was considered. But after being scoped on Friday, Pipe has elected to swerve next week's National Hunt showpiece.

"We will look towards possibly running at Aintree," Pipe wrote on Twitter. "We scoped Grands Crus and wanted him to be 110% and he wasn't."

The focus at Cheltenham is on the weather, with officials taking the decision to deploy frost covers with the forecast suggesting the mercury will dip well below zero.

Cherk of the course Simon Claisse does not envisage any problem with regard to racing, but as a precaution the covers will be put down from Saturday onwards.

Cheltenham spokesman Andy Clifton said: "The weather forecast we have now looks more certain and overnight temperatures will be going down below the freezing mark to around -4C.

"As a result, we will be putting frost covers down over the weekend as a precaution. Both the Old course and New course will be covered, as will vulnerable areas on the cross-country course."

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