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Pipes have fourth Ladbroke sewn up with Dell’ Arca and Swing Bowler

David Pipe is three strong as he bids to land a fifth Ladbroke Hurdle in eight runnings for his family and his Greatwood Hurdle winner Dell’ Arca and Swing Bowler both look to have superb chances.

Dell’ Arca is marginally the shorter in the betting at 10/1, with Swing Bowler – a prolific mare last season – 14/1.

Both have proven themselves more than up to making the frame in big Saturday races like the Ladbroke before, which is sure to stand them in good stead.

Swing Bowler did so when placing third behind subsequent Supreme Novices Hurdle second My Tent Or Yours in Newbury’s Betfair Hurdle last term.

Meanwhile the Greatwood proved Dell’ Arca’s taste for such an occasion on what was his first run over hurdles in Britain and only his fourth overall since starting his career in France.

Aged four and six respectively they fit into an age bracket that has housed all bar one of the last 10 winners.

Meanwhile in a race that has largely resisted the advances of lightly-weighted fancies in recent years, both carry more than 10st8lbs, as have eight of the last 10 to carry the prize.

The last six years have seen a tendency for a higher calibre of protagonist to take the laurels too and five of the victors in that period were officially rated between 132 and 144.

Rated 136, the Pipe duo are being readied for the Ascot test in the eye of a perfect storm of trends.

Both have won on soft ground before, meaning there should be little in the way of trouble with the forecast going, so all that remains is to rank them in order of preference.

Having put to bed a super competitive Cheltenham handicap on his UK hurdles bow a chance must be taken on Dell’ Arca making a big enough step forward from that effort to defy an 8lb rise.

With Swing Bowler already a two-time handicap winner there’s a comparatively larger chance of the handicapper having got a true handle on her ability.

On the other hand, Pipe’s Greatwood winner appeared a good deal better than the bare form at Cheltenham.