DAVID PIPE says Doncaster winner Ramses de Teillee could stick to hurdles before a tilt at the Randox Health Grand National.
The gutsy grey virtually made all under a typically positive Tom Scudamore ride to land the River Don Novices’ Hurdle at Doncaster last Saturday.
Running in the colours of former Ryanair Chase winner Dynaste, the win confirmed the reputation of the 2018 Welsh Grand National runner-up who is a soft ground specialist.
And, as John White and Anne Underhill’s horse is still eligible for novice hurdles because he had not won over smaller obstacles until this season, Pipe’s plans could now take in the Cheltenham Festival before a second National tilt.
“The Grade Two River Don had been the plan ever since he went for a wind operation and it was great to see him run out a convincing winner, despite the ground being quicker than ideal,” said Pipe, whose stable has been enjoying a quiet resurgence this season.
“The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival could be on the agenda, whilst he has been given an entry in the Grand National, and he is worthy of his place at either festival.
“He is a high-class horse and if the ground were to come up heavy, it would be no surprise to see him run well.”
Ramses De Teillee was pulled up in last year’s National that saw Tiger Roll become the first dual winner since Red Rum.
Meanwhile Jamie Snowden will tread a familiar path with Hogan’s Height by switching him back to hurdles ahead of the Grand National on April 4.
The Lambourn handler will adopt the same tactics he used ahead of the nine-year-old’s winning debut over the famous Aintree fences in the Grand Sefton in December.
With Hogan’s Height raised 12lb for that success, Snowden is confident the Foxtrot Racing-owned gelding will get his chance to shine in the world-famous marathon.
Snowden said: “Hogan’s Height will have a run over hurdles in March as that should put him right for the Grand National which he should realistically get in off a mark of 146.
“He had one little run over hurdles before running in the Sefton earlier in the season and that worked well, so that is why we are doing it again before the Grand National. It’s really exciting having a horse for the Grand National.”
Although Hogan’s Height is yet to race beyond three miles and a furlong, Snowden is optimistic he should see out the trip.
He said: “He is quite closely related to Madison Du Berlais, who won what was the Hennessy (under Tom Scudamore) and is now the Ladbrokes Trophy, so stamina should be there in abundance. Whether he stays the four and a quarter miles who knows, but he has been trained for the Grand National.”
Trainer Andrew Balding could look to the bet365 Craven Stakes at Newmarket as a potential starting point for Kameko ahead of an outing in the Qipco 2000 Guineas.
He believes the mile Group Three contest could be the ideal stepping stone for the son of Kitten’s Joy before returning him to the track for the opening Classic.
Kameko ended 2019 on a high when winning the first Group One race staged on an artificial surface in Britain, the rearranged Vertem Futurity Trophy at Newcastle, under champion jockey Oisin Murphy.