Pied Piper was the most emphatic winner at Cheltenham's Trials meeting producing a breathtaking display in the Grade 2 Finesse Juvenile Hurdle. A useful performer on the Flat for John Gosden, the son of New Approach was bought for 225,000gns in October before joining Gordon Elliott. A hard fought winner on his hurdles debut at Punchestown on New Year's Eve when beating the highly regarded Vauban, Davy Russell's mount was always cantering and never came off the bridle before pulling away to register a nine lengths win. Owners Caldwell Construction Limited are also responsible for stablemate Fil Dor who heads the ante-post market for the Triumph Hurdle and Elliott suggested afterwards that Pied Piper may be steered towards the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle instead. Rated 96 on the level, he was bred and previously owned by the Queen and looks a tremendous prospect - he didn't look straightforward on the Flat but it is impossible to crab him over jumps thus far.
Chantry House got his career back on track by taking the Cotswold Chase but was hardly impressive and still has plenty to prove when it comes to the top staying chases. A two and a half lengths victor from Santini and the admirable Aye Right, his jumping left something to be desired and, on this evidence, he will struggle to lay a glove on the major contenders if returning in March for steeplechasing's Blue Riband.
Third Time Lucki made it three wins from four starts over fences when winning the Grade 2 Lightning Novices' Chase for Team Skelton. The seven year old had lost his unbeaten record in the Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices' Chase at Sandown last month but never looked in any danger here. Jumping fluently, he travelled powerfully and benefited from the lead he enjoyed courtesy of For Pleasure. He had that one's measure when Alex Hales' charge took a crunching fall at the last. The Arkle Trophy will be next and, provided he relaxes in behind horses, he won't be far away at the Festival.
Rich and Susannah Ricci have enjoyed a successful week with Allegorie De Vassy and Ha D'Or scoring at Fairyhouse. The former, who is featured in the French Revolution section of One Jump Ahead, won the Grade 2 Solerina Mares' Novice Hurdle by three and a half lengths. Her task was made easier by the fact stable companion Brandy Love jumped repeatedly to her left forfeiting plenty of ground in the process. It will be an interesting rematch in the Dawn Run Mares' Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
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