Pipe keen on Madison’s Argento Chase chances

DAVID PIPE is confident Madison Du Berlais can lay his Cheltenham hoodoo to rest in the Argento Chase today.

The nine-year-old enjoyed a fantastic campaign last season, winning the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury, beating Denman at Kempton and rounding off the season with success at Aintree.

He has been left chasing the shadow of Kauto Star on his two starts this season and has yet to win in six outings at Prestbury Park, but Pipe is still keen on his chances.

“His best performances have obviously been on flatter tracks but I can’t see any reason why he shouldn’t run a big race tomorrow,” said Pipe.

“He finished third in a Grand Annual at Cheltenham a few years ago, although that was with his previous trainer, my dad!

“He was obviously below-par when he ran in the Gold Cup but he’s in good form at the moment and conditions should be ideal for him.

“The questions about the track will be answered, so we’ll see how we get on.”

Nigel Twiston-Davies is doubly represented with both Knowhere, winner of this race in 2008, and Ollie Magern lining up.

“Knowhere is in the form of his life,” said Twiston-Davies.

“He’s come down the handicap a little bit and it might be a bit of a disaster if he wins almost, but it is the sort of race that suits him.”

“Ollie is top of every handicap and there is always something underneath that will come and beat him so he’ll go as well.

It will be an important test for Carruthers, last year's RSA Chase fourth, who enjoyed a confidence-boosting win at Newbury last time.

Trainer Mark Bradstock waited until Denman went elsewhere before committing to this race and jockey Mattie Batchelor is excited about the high-profile ride.

“It’s a big day for all concerned,” said Batchelor.

“We were going to go wherever Denman didn’t and with Denman waiting for the Aon Chase at Newbury, we went for Cheltenham.

“I schooled him over eight fences on Thursday morning upsides another horse.

“Mark’s wife Sara rides him every day and knows him inside out and she says he seems in good form.”

Carruthers’ Festival target is not yet confirmed, although Batchelor added: “He is going up in the handicap and I think they will probably decide he will end up in the Gold Cup.

“Kauto Star is obviously a serious machine but there is some good prize money on offer for places.”

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