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Pipe puts Cheltenham hopes to the test at Ascot

David Pipe has suffered a few setbacks in the build-up to the Cheltenham festival this year. Dynaste and The Liquidator have both been well beaten but the trainer is hoping that two of his stable stars can get back on track tomorrow at Ascot.

Un Temps Pour Tout arrived from France with a big reputation and was made favourite for his first race for his new yard at Haydock. He ran well to finish second to Zamdy Man but will need to improve on that if he is to justify his place in the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle.

Pipe then looks to Gevrey Chambertin to advertise his RSA Chase claims when he lines up in the Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase at 2.05. The grey was an impressive winner of the Fixed Brush Hurdle at Haydock in November but meets some promising chasers here.

Ely Brown profited from the exit of market leader Green Flag at Wetherby last time and is regarded as more likely to for the four-mile National Hunt Chase at the festival. A bigger threat may come from Many Clouds who beat subsequent Cheltenham winner Indian Castle at Wetherby last time.

Pipe also has claims in the handicap hurdle at 3.15 with hat-trick seeking Heath Hunter. Both of the gelding’s victories came at Sedgefield but he is only up 3lbs for the latest win, both achieved with front-running tactics.

There are a couple of unknown quantities in the field in Nicky Henderson’s French recruit Lough Kent and the Paul Nicholls trained Virak, a wide margin winner at Taunton last time. They could go a fast pace here and that may play into the hands of Kaylif Aramis who has been threatening to pick up a decent prize.

Houblon Des Obeaux bids for a third course and distance victory this season when he carries top weight in the Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Chase at 2.40. He may find the weight concession to Highland Lodge just too much if Emma Lavelle’s gelding has recovered from his Welsh National exertions.

Selections: 1.30 Un Temps Pour Tout, 2.05 Gevrey Chambertin, 2.40 Highland Lodge, 3.15 Kaylif Aramis, 3.50 Captain Chris, 4.20 Mountain King, 4.50 Royal Vacation