David Pipe trainer of Grand Crus
©Healy Racing Photos
Connections still hope Grands Crus will be ready to take his place in the field for the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton on St Stephen's Day.
David Pipe's charge looked to have the chasing world at his hooves when slamming subsequent RSA Chase and Hennessy hero Bobs Worth in the Feltham Novices' Chase on the same card last season.
However he was soundly beaten by that rival at Cheltenham in March and reappeared in the Paddy Power Gold Cup last month only to pull up having been sent off a well backed favourite.
Grands Crus has since had a breathing operation and his regular rider Tom Scudamore said on Monday: "I spoke to David this morning and he felt that if we got a clear run from here, we'd be there on Boxing Day. Hopefully we will have the real Grands Crus back.
"It has been frustrating watching the second-season chasers come out and win big races this season. I know that there was no fluke about what he did at Kempton [in the Feltham Chase] 12 months ago and you only have to look at the horses he beat and the time of that race to realise that.
"I was never happy with him at Cheltenham. I was always having to niggle along and that's just not him. He didn't make a noise in the race but David was sensible enough to do all of the tests afterwards and when the horse was sent for tests, they found something was troubling him.
"He went to Geoff Lane, who is the number one man for these sort of things, and he was back in the yard almost straight away.
"We've been able to keep him ticking over and now it's just a question of getting him back to where we want him to be with his fitness."